In order to remain competitive, your organization may have to undergo a process of change. Some changes are small, others require a large corporate restructure or the implementation of new, cutting-edge technologies in order to remain competitive and viable.
All changes are unique and specific to the business that is undergoing change, however there are some general principals of change management that should be used to guide your company through the process.
1. Trickle down approach
Many employees will be resistant to change, no matter how necessary it is: people just don’t like change, it’s human nature.
Have your top management model change at the top and let it trickle down to employees. The senior staff need to be prepared to walk the walk as well as talk the talk if they want to take employees on the change journey.
2. Understand that you are affecting actual people
Your employees are more than just some data on a spreadsheet – they are human beings with feelings, and they may be seeing their jobs change substantially – or disappearing altogether. Perhaps they may be facing a pay cut, or may have to relocate.
Your approach to communicating change should be sensitive, understanding that many may be emotional.
3. Change needs to include culture
Many leaders fail to address an organization’s culture when it comes to successfully implementing and sustaining change. If nothing happens at the cultural level, structural changes are less likely to stick.
4. Give ownership to employees
Involving staff at all levels makes good sense: they become invested in the change and take personal responsibility for ensuring that it is carried out successfully. Employees on the front line have a better understanding of what may work and what may not work than those who are removed, remote from the coal face in board rooms.
5. Commit to good communication practices
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone will understand the proposed changes quickly and embrace them. You’ll need to have very clear communications outlining the reasons for change and how change will be carried out – and commit to ongoing communications.
Use a system such as DeskAlerts to be certain your messages are reaching your people. This clever internal communications solution sends pop-up notifications to computer desktops and can’t be missed.
6. Resource it properly
This isn’t a time to skimp on resources or their quality – make sure you resource your organization properly and, if possible, employ experienced change management professionals to take you through the transition.
7. Commit to good engagement
You will come across people who are resistant to change who act as roadblocks and impediments. You need to commit to good engagement processes to win them over.
8. Change at the right pace
There’s no need to rush to the finish line – when you rush, mistakes can be made and people can become too overwhelmed – perhaps to the point where you lose them altogether. Give a reasonable amount of time to communicate change and then to implement it.
9. Expect the unexpected
There may be things that pop up during the change process that are completely unanticipated and these will need to be dealt with. Have strategies in place for dealing with and mitigating complex situations.
10. Measure success
Don’t forget to take time to determine how well your change management has worked, and what may still need to be improved. You might have to make further adjustments to bed the change down.