People don’t like to change. As human beings we get into routines and don’t like to leave our comfort zones. So when organizations change, it can be difficult to get employees to embrace it.
There are many reasons why your organization may need to go through a change process – generally out of some sort of necessity. It might be for financial reasons, because of regulatory framework changes, because of a merger or acquisition, or because you need to change direction as a business to remain competitive, viable and solvent.
Change can be difficult. There’s no quick fix solution. You can’t wave a magic wand and have everything transform into something new easily.
Change is a process that needs a lot of hard work, planning, dedication and commitment to carry out. In fact many businesses get it wrong – some 70 per cent of change initiatives globally fail every single year.
The following processes and systems should be followed to successfully bring about change in your organization:
Establish a project team with governance and other structures.
What is the outcome you would like to achieve? How will you get to this point? Establish your key deliverables as well as terms of reference.
Create a business case for the changes you would like to make.
Select a proven change management methodology that will help you to bring about change in your organization.
Clearly set out your plan in an easy-to-follow format.
Determine if there are any obstacles that could prevent you from achieving your goals and if appropriate devise mitigation strategies.
Determine if there are any risks and create mitigation strategies
Ensure that you have the resources necessary to implement your plan.
Determine if there are any costs involved and if so, dedicate time to planning a budget.
Identify who is going to be affected by the change – map your stakeholders.
Seek ways to involve those affected by change.
Assign responsibilities to relevant staff members.
Ensure that all members of your organization’s leadership team thoroughly understand the goals and objectives of organizational change and can talk to employees about it.
Identify “sponsors” or “champions” of change who can help to lead initiatives and be the public face of your change campaign.
Develop your sponsors’ and champions’ understanding of roles and responsibilities as well as the change initiative
Ensure your sponsors and champions are able to deliver your key messages and communicate effectively
Set clear expectations of your managers about the role they will play in the success or failure of your change campaign.
Middle managers can help to play a crucial role in identifying and managing any resistance to change among the staff they supervise – they will need coaching to help them with this role.
Develop a communication plan
Identify the key messages about your change initiative and the process
Identify audience groups
Create appropriate information resources in different formats, and for different audiences if appropriate
Determine the communication channels that you are going to use
Identify who the appropriate sender of any communications should be (eg: CEO, supervisors, project sponsor, other?)
Determine the frequency of communication
Assign responsibility for communication tasks
Create mechanisms that will allow two-way communication
Monitor and evaluate the success of your communication strategy
Identify any stakeholders, internal and external, who could be affected by your change initiative.
Consult and engage with your stakeholder groups to determine how they feel about the change and what work needs to be done to get them ready to embrace the change.
Facilitate the sharing of information among stakeholders – consider events, briefings and other activities as part of or in conjunction with your communication strategy.
Give opportunities for two-way communication.
Record any feedback or issues that arise when you consult with your stakeholders.
Report progress to stakeholders.
What are your desired values, behaviors and other organizational culture attributes that you want to see once your change is implemented?
Ensure you are clearly articulating the link between the new behaviors and the ongoing success of your organization.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the existing workplace culture (or cultures if you are going through a merger or acquisition).
How can you put these cultures together (also if going through a merger or acquisition?).
How can you facilitate your employees to engage on a social level to build culture?
Are there any training needs that will assist with this?
Evaluate what training and development will be required as a result of your change initiative. Do you need to retrain your entire workforce or just those who are engaged in a specific role?
Plan your training sessions in a way that you can cater for everyone with minimal disruption, eg: staggering over multiple days.
Assess your employees after training and offer follow-up training if necessary.
Include this training in your onboarding process for new employees.
Set the expectation with managers and supervisors that they will have a role to play in coaching their direct reports during the change process.
Prepare these managers to be able to answer questions about the change process and to explain what is new.
How well do your employees understand your messages about your change?
Do you have metrics in place to help with the evaluation process? If so, what are they saying?
Has there been resistance to change?
If there has been resistance, how has it been managed?
What feedback have you received from employees?
Have you conducted any pulse or benchmarking surveys to determine engagement and morale levels?
What have you learned as an organization from the process?