The current global economic climate calls for organisations to be agile and responsive when it comes to change management. In the face of 24/7 media scrutiny, greater transparency and a rapidly evolving technological environment, companies are realising that how they approach change is key in their ability to remain competitive.
So how do we encourage staff to embrace change and to be as flexible as the change itself?
Give Your People A Voice
People prefer to be involved in change processes, even if the ultimate decision differs from their opinion. If the change process has a direct impact on their work, the last thing you want is reluctant employees who push back against the change because it has been orchestrated without their input.
Once you’ve determined how the change will personally benefit each department and individual staff member in your organisation, it’s time to listen to what the people themselves have to say about it. This will result in engaged employees who are excited to move forward into a new, re-imagined workplace.
• Develop a plan with the management team on how to involve your staff and gather support for the change. This plan should encompass all staff and stakeholders who will be directly impacted by the change.
• Hold staff focus groups to explore people’s concerns about the change and uncover any potential operational issues that may arise for each department.
• Keep communicating! It is necessary to maintain proper communication with every department in your organisation as the change process gets underway and progresses. This is so each staff member can feel their input is being heard at every stage and their needs are not being left behind.
Measure Every Step
Measurement is the key to every successful change. Understand what’s working and what’s not working for each individual in the change process. An easy way to achieve this is to put in place measurement systems that recognise when the change is negatively impacting a person’s work or, conversely, when the individual is negatively impacting the change.
Know Your Role As Change Leader
Support for and commitment to change needs to start at the top. Once the people are given a voice, they will understand that you are all in this together and feel more comfortable to
look towards you for direction. This puts a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders as you are required to:
• Develop and articulate a strong case for the change
• Approach the change with positivity and confidence
• Ensure the right systems are put in place to support a smooth transition
• Back up your words with action – leaders cannot expect staff to adopt new behaviours without displaying those behaviours themselves
Recognising the fundamental role played by your people in the change management process is the first step towards successful change. By understanding human nature and human response to certain situations and processes, you’re off to a good start. Keeping a space open for the voices in your organisation will only serve to push the process forward in a positive way.