According to Gallup, 59% of workers do not know what their workplace stands for. This statistic offers insight into the reason why it is so difficult to effect positive change management.
However, other statistics demonstrate how detached employees are from their company’s purpose.
According to Gallup:
- 27% of employees believe in their company’s values
- 23% feel they can apply their organization’s values to their work every day
- Only 33% of US employees are engaged at their workplace vs. 13% worldwide
These statistics make it clear that workers are hardly engaged or satisfied at their workplace.
They also show why it is so important to effect positive change management during any transformation.
The Keys to Driving Positive Change Management
Positive change management implies a few things:
- Positive feelings and emotions about the transition
- A program that is proactive, intentional, and directed
- A change project that is successful
It is more important than ever that change professionals specifically aim to create positive change.
The results will drastically reduce barriers to change, increase acceptance, and get better results.
Below are a few keys to driving such positive change management:
Define a Positive Change Principle
A positive change principle focuses on what works now.
It also visualizes a positive future.
A “negative” change principle would be one that focuses exclusively on obstacles.
While there are certainly plenty of obstacles in change management, they should not be the center of your vision for change.
If your change endeavor only focuses on avoiding obstacles, it may avoid them … but it will not have a definite direction or goal.
In the long run, this could result in a workplace that is similarly confused, disconnected, and undirected.
Instead, define a positive vision for change. One that includes:
- A specific, directed change strategy
- A strong, positive picture of a workplace, its culture, and its mission
- A two-way communications strategy
Below, we’ll look at some keys that can help you make this vision a reality.
Avoid Focusing on the Negative
This may sound obvious or repetitive.
But unfortunately, the change management industry has latched on to negativity.
In some cases, this is well-intentioned, but in others such negativity may simply be marketing fuel.
Here are some headlines that illustrate this:
- Leading Change: 6 Reasons Change Management Strategies Fail
- Why Do So Many Change Management Initiatives Fail?
- 4 Common Causes of Change Management Failure in Business
- 70% of Transformation Programs Fail
There are a few problems with focusing on the negative side of change management.
On the one hand, you cannot create positive changes by focusing on the negative, as mentioned above.
On the other, there is research that proves the aforementioned “70% failure rate” is inaccurate.
While it is important to be realistic about challenges, such negativity can be contagious and harmful to your change project.
Rather than dictating, change leaders should co-create change with employees.
Avoid top-down mandates or any form of exclusivity.
Instead, create an inclusive vision of the organization that is:
- Developed collaboratively with employees
- Fueled by employee feedback
- Created in conjunction with HR leaders
By inviting total participation, leaders can work with employees instead of ordering them.
This approach will have positive impacts on:
- Employee attitudes towards the change
- How employees feel about the organization, its mission, and its culture
- Resistant employees
Co-creation is a central element of any positive change management approach.
It will help transform the company culture positively, well into the future.
And, just as importantly, this approach will positively impact the results of the change project.
Harmonize Your Culture
The statistics from Gallup clearly demonstrate that, on the whole, employees are disengaged and disconnected.
The first source mentioned above also pointed out that gaps exist between a company’s current culture and its desired culture.
This gap, Gallup claims, creates “inconsistency and confusion for employees and customers.”
And others also see a connection between the company culture and its customer-facing image.
According to an article published by the Harvard Business Review, “Brand Is Culture, Culture Is Brand.”
In other words, it is important to match the internal culture with the brand itself.
The values that define the culture should be the same as those that define the brand.
However, as Gallup’s research shows, most organizations haven’t attained this state.
Any positive change management program should make it a priority to reconnect its employees with:
- The organization’s mission and purpose
- The company culture and brand
- The perception of the organization and the future
Do this, and your employees will feel more connected to the company, its mission, and the workplace.
To develop a positive change management strategy, it is critical to view the organization holistically.
A holistic perspective will help change professionals see the connections between employees, the organization’s mission, its culture, and its brand.
As a result, employees will become more productive, more engaged, and more satisfied.
And by working with employees – instead of dictating to them – leaders can co-create positive change in the workplace.
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.