Creating a change model is just one step to creating a successful change management process. But even if you know the who’s, what’s, and why’s behind your change model and feel prepared and empowered by it, that doesn’t mean that your employees do. They need a clear ‘stages of change’ model to understand why it’s happening and what’s going to happen so that they feel excited and accepting of what’s to come.
You don’t need to do anything overly complicated to get your employees ready for the changes ahead. Here are a few simple things you can do to define the stages of your change model and pave the road for success:
1. Make Your Goals Clear So Employees Know Why the Change is Necessary
The first thing most people are going to want to know is “Why?” Why is the change necessary? What was so wrong about the way things were before?
People are creatures of habit, and they don’t want things to change. Even when things are not ideal, they would rather deal with a problem they know than a problem they don’t. Most people are going to be resistant to changing the way things are.
When you are trying to make changes for your organization, you need the buy-in of your employees. You can’t expect to be successful if they are not 100 percent behind the changes — not only ready to implement them, but also excited about them.
The stages of change model must start with making your goals clear so that your employees know why the change is necessary and will be in agreement.
What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to increase sales? Make your branding clearer? Share that goal and then explain how it will benefit the company and how the changes will help to achieve that goal.
When you are explaining your goals for the change model, you should sell them as passionately as you would your product to your customers. Don’t expect the advantages to be self-evident. Convince your employees why these changes will be great not only for the company, but also for them.
2. Outline Each Step of the Change Implementation So Employees Know What to Expect
One reason that people don’t like change is that they are afraid of what will happen. Maybe the changes will come and their lives will be worse. Few people expect the best.
The more information you provide your employees, the more confident you will make them about what to expect. You should outline the stages of change model in detail so that your employees know exactly what to expect.
Break down your change management process into distinct phases, which will become the stages of change model, and then break down those phases into actionable steps. Employees will be able to mark off these steps as the change plan is implemented, and they will feel reassured at each stage. They will know what’s coming, and they will have more trust in your management in the future.
3. Be Specific about What Will Change, Including Tools and Software
A lot of business leaders get bogged down in jargon — business speak that only makes sense to managers. It might seem like they are saying something important, but everyone else will feel lost.
Don’t talk in generalities about sales goals or company branding. Be as specific as you can about what will happen and why.
Specifically, you should talk about the functional things that will change about each employee’s day-to-day processes and routines, such as the tools and software they will use.
Tell employees that everyone will get a new computer that has faster processing speed to improve customer service times. Tell them that they will get a new software package, and include the name and a complete description of what it does.
Reassure employees that training will come, and give them dates for the training and the implementation of the changes. Let them know that support will be available at every step so that the stages of change model do not seem abrupt or confusing.
4. Make Employees Clear of Their Own Responsibilities So They Can Take Ownership
Employees can sometimes feel like a cog in the machine. They just await orders and get moved around as management sees fit.
This is not a good way to improve employee morale or to get the most from the people you hired. If you really want to see your company reach its full potential, you will find ways to motivate your employees and make them want to take initiative.
To make employees feel empowered, you have to empower them. You need to give them responsibilities, and you need to give them the space to manage those responsibilities on their own.
Change processes are the ideal opportunities to give employees those responsibilities. You can make them feel a part of the change — an important part – by giving them a special role in the stages of change model and by helping them understand why it’s so important.
You can make employees some employees responsible for training others on the new software or systems, or you can assign some employees to teams that are responsible for one aspect of the change process. The more employees you can make active participants in the process, the better.
5. Help Employees See the Advantages of the Changes to Themselves
We are all selfish creatures at our hearts, no matter how much we may enjoy our work or care about our company. If you want your employees to really embrace change and make the new process a success, you need to help them see what the advantages are to them.
For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you might tell your employees how you plan to increase salaries or expand benefits to them. Or maybe you’ll start a new profit-sharing program or commission plan that will give the best-performing employees the opportunity to make more.
If your goal is to improve efficiency with the changes, you might tell your employees that it will make their jobs easier so they have more time to improve other skills or expand their opportunities at the company.
Give your employees reasons why the changes will benefit them, and you will easily get their buy in, which will make the stages of change model go a lot smoother and be more successful.
Use the Right Tools to Usher in All Stages of Change Model
WalkMe is a solution that can help you define the stages of your change model and to oversee your change management process. You can use the software to plan your entire process, including all the stages of change model, to monitor the implementation, to assign roles in the process, and to track the success of your goals.
When you use the right tools and the right change management process, you can implement any series of changes across your organization successfully. You will reach your goals faster, and you will help your company grow.
No matter the size or scope of your company, and no matter the goals you are trying to reach, WalkMe can help you implement a change process and ensure that it is successful.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.