Change is everywhere we look, but more often than not comes with an uneasiness attached to it.
When was the last time you welcomely embraced change? Has your organization established a change management 101?
Despite the negative stigma that comes with the unknown, change is necessary if organizations are to remain competitive in the modern business world.
Companies that continue to do things the same way are at risk of getting left behind, though change is often met with significant resistance.
With this being said, how can you help staff perceive change differently? This is by no means easy, but can be achieved with a management of change procedure.
The main reason for this is to help staff think about change differently, so they can embrace rather than reject it.
Even small changes can cause upset, despite the potential for long-term benefit. Anything that disturbs the status quo is usually met unfavorably, which is one of the biggest incentives for implementing a management of change procedure.
Asking staff to break old habits is unlikely to be met with approval, but is a progressive step towards meeting new standards of excellence.
Whether you’re transitioning to new software, or gradually introducing new policy, the change involved must be managed correctly.
Help your staff through an otherwise difficult time with the right management of change procedure, which should be implemented as follows:
When employees observe management support for an initiative, they’re more likely to endorse the change in question.
The comfort level this creates is a great incentive for employees to work in alignment with company objectives.
Change should be supported from the top, with a promotion of benefits to encourage staff further.
Management support should be readily communicated, and can be enhanced with two-way dialogue which gives employees a chance to offer valuable input.
The last thing you’ll want is to send mixed messages to staff. If you’re promoting a change you don’t have wholehearted support for, staff may sense indecision and act unfavorably.
Present a Case for Change
Asking employees to change without proper incentives is usually a recipe for disaster.
This stresses the importance of creating a case for change, so staff understand why and how they should adjust their approach.
This is an integral component of your management of change procedure. But what information should you use to incentivize your team?
Well, things like employee satisfaction surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, business goals, strategic planning, and customer comment cards are a great place to start.
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You can also engage your team with an array of great tools and techniques, which should further encourage your team to embrace change.
Data is great because it can be used as evidence which links change to enhanced performance. It will also help justify and identify areas of potential improvement, which can be applied through various initiatives.
What’s most important is to involve your workforce every step of the way. Employees who are proactively involved in change will be perfectly positioned to embrace and influence it.
This is advantageous on multiple levels, including ensuring everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Change must be communicated across the board, especially how it affects employee performance in different roles.
A great way to proactively involve your team is by engaging them with intriguing games and exercises. These are good for interaction, but to signal how change doesn’t have to be boring.
Your management of change procedure must be explained and communicated at every layer. It should be centered on how initiatives will influence the employee experience, so they can benefit from the implementation process.
Because your workforce will become fully immersed in change, it’s essential they understand just why change is so important.
Arguably the most important component of a good management of change procedure: communication.
Even the best procedure in the world will fall on deaf ears if it isn’t communicated properly. Employees rely on management to communicate what’s required from them.
From this dialogue staff will not just understand what they need to do, but will understand why it’s essential they change.
Poorly communicated objectives are difficult to fulfill, especially when the benefits of change haven’t been discussed.
A lack of communication can lead to a disenfranchised and disillusioned team. The rumor mill is a dangerous place, and staff are more likely to resist when they haven’t been filled in sufficiently.
Proactive communication will ensure employees feel like they’re part of something. This is advantageous for aligning your staff’s daily duties with the best interest of the company.
There should be a timeline for implementation, with specific targets and goals in place to create an effective timeline to change.
Creating logical order is a great way to present an organized case to change, one which can be more easily followed and enforced.
When change goals are met they should be celebrated organization-wide.
Celebrate wins early and often, to reinforce positive behavior and ensure everyone is united on the same page.
You can celebrate positive behavior with financial rewards, or by simply incentivizing staff with vocal recognition.
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.