If you want to implement effective organizational change management strategies, you’d be wise to focus on influencing the behavior of employees.
That’s because their decision to become adopters of change, rather than resistors, will ultimately determine the longevity and overall impact of change. Though short term wins can incentivize employees, the overarching principle of your strategy is to secure permanent change.
Business improvement projects are dependent on people, especially considering change management has no defined schedule or formal structure. It is a reactive and unpredictable process that involves full staff participation.
Change management can transform your business, and be leveraged to achieve the following goals:
Increase ROI: When organizations spend on project development, the investment is justified only if it’s utilized to good effect. This is common with change management projects, where employees must change in order to increase ROI. The change will consequently have its desired effect, making the investment worthwhile.
Change can have undesired consequences, especially when staff haven’t been involved in the planning and implementation of organizational change management strategies. If employees are left out, they’re less likely to embrace change, creating a disconnect between company objectives and employee performance. Your strategy should take employee needs into account, because an effective process can be the difference between a disgruntled employee, and an employee who’s incentivized to empower change.
Change is difficult to accept, especially when it threatens people’s job security. When organizational change strategies are introduced, employees can be left feeling confused and disorientated. As a change manager, it’s your job to reduce uncertainty by communicating your vision. This will help minimize disruption, creating an organization of change champions. Your main goal is to reassure staff that the results of change will make their lives easier.
With this being said, you’re probably wondering how to implement organizational change management strategies to reach these objectives? If so, read on to discover more:
Redefine Cultural Values
Remember when we mentioned addressing change from a behavioral perspective? As humans we desire to fit in with cultural values, so your change management strategy should align with this philosophy. Redefining an organization’s culture is a great way to get employees to buy-in, especially with a preference for continuous improvement.
This will influence the minds of employees, encouraging them to change their outlook on work. A receptive workforce will be flexible to change, making the adaptation phase easier to manage. If staff are fully invested in your change culture, this will reduce the resistance associated with organizational change management strategies.
It is human nature to follow self-interest, and though influencing behavior isn’t out of the question, you’ll be beating your head against a brick wall if you try to change the very fabric of our psyches.
Instead, your change management strategy should offer incentives which encourage people to embrace new direction. This will increase engagement and productivity, where staff have a reason to strive towards new objectives. There are two main methods of incentives: employee recognition programs and reward systems. Incentives reinforce the behaviors change management are looking for. With motivational targets, incentives show leadership value for employees during difficult times. This brings various indirect positive consequences, including boosted morale.
Redirect the Burden of Change
Though it’s common to initially resist change, we are also very adaptive creatures, with a profound ability to transition into new environments. It’s usually the initial barrier that’s difficult to overcome, but once restrictions are removed, we can redirect the burden of change.
Good organizational management strategies take advantage of our flexibility, by gradually implementing new processes, workflows, and values. Remember, you can’t rush perfection! A timely approach is best suited to radical change, where burden is shifted from upper management onto staff. Though this seems unfair, because you’re giving staff the time they need to adjust, they’ll eventually benefit from improved performance, especially when project goals are met. When employees adapt to new circumstances, the organization can transition smoothly into a digital landscape.
Though it’s important to consider the needs of employees, sometimes you’ll need to reign with an iron fist. If employees aren’t sold on change, you might need to whip them into shape. Your approach is dependent on your discretion, where you should observe the scenario at hand and act accordingly. To decrease employee opposition, you can exercise authority by signaling the business is in grave danger unless employees accept change.
Honest scare tactics can influence people to act, especially if their job security is threatened. This is however a fine line, because though a coercive strategy can be a fast way to implement change, it can also breed resentment. The last thing you’ll need is opposition among employees, because this can be problematic for future initiatives. It’s a balancing act that requires due care, attention, diligence, and vigilance.
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.