It’s highly unlikely that your business will stay exactly the same, forever, and still remain competitive and viable. Regulatory and legislative changes, evolving technology, new systems, new equipment, policy and procedural changes and a shifting business landscape will affect just about every business at some stage requiring your employees to adapt.
The term “change management” refers to a structured way a company implements these types of changes in order to take it from the current way of doing things to a desired future state.
While managing change in the workplace can be difficult, it should be viewed positively. When change is managed and implemented well in an organization it can help the business remain fresh and relevant, keeping up with industry trends. It can provide new opportunities for the organization, or help it to remain competitive.
Change can also bring about innovation, improve efficiencies and productivity and increase profits. It can also improve employee morale and make your organization a sought after place to work for top talent in your industry.
Trends in change management for 2020
Over the past decade or so, the global business landscape has undergone a significant amount of change and that’s not expected to change in 2020.
Rapidly changing technology, disruptors that have shaken – and brought about the collapse of – entire industries, regulatory changes and consumers who are more informed than ever before have shaped the business landscape and businesses have had to keep up. These are some of the areas to focus on when managing change in the workplace next year:
1. Digital transformation
Technology keeps changing so rapidly, many organizations have been implementing entire change programs to replace systems so that the business can be competitive and viable both now and into the future.
A recent survey of senior business and HR leaders by Australian consultancy Lighthouse Group found that 18.33 % said being digitally prepared was one of the greatest challenges their business faced.
This includes grappling with changed consumer habits, artificial intelligence, automation and other disruptive influences.
2. Becoming more agile
Companies increasingly need to become more agile and adaptable in their outlook and approach in order to respond quickly to issues outside of their control.
Embedding this approach in all aspects of a company’s work processes means that the company can be responsive to its environment as well as customer-centric, ensuring ongoing growth.
3. Succession planning
As the Baby Boomer cohort are increasingly retiring from the workforce, passing the torch to the next generation of leaders within an organization is a major priority.
This includes building capability within Generation X and Millennial employees so that they can eventually replace your senior leaders. Tomorrow’s success relies on building foundations today.
4. Use technology to help with managing change in the workplace
Digital and technological change isn’t just something to adapt to – it can also be used to manage change itself.
Technology can be used from everything from data analysis and trend forecasting (for example artificial intelligence and machine learning) through to implementing change strategies via tools, such as DeskAlerts.
Difficulties in implementing change in an organization
It’s estimated that as many as 50 to 70 % of change management projects fail to achieve their goals, meaning many of these initiatives have been costly exercises that have yielded little or no results.
Common reasons why change programs fail include:
- Employee resistance. People just don’t like change and are reluctant to embrace it, unless successfully persuaded.
- Leadership failure. Without the buy-in from senior management, and without clear leadership, managing change in the workplace can fall short as employees have difficulty embracing, adapting to and embedding change.
- Poor communication. When the change process is unclear, including why and how the company is changing, employees can struggle with the lack of direction.
- Unrealistic goals. When change initiatives are far-fetched and over-the-top, they are destined to fail. Change initiatives must be realistic.
- When costs blow out and money runs out, the change initiative can end up mothballed. Or, worse, plunge the company into financial crisis.
- Technological failures. When software, hardware or other equipment is replaced or upgraded, problems with the replacement systems can cripple the company.
Effectively implementing change in your organization
According to McKinsey, the five-year or three-year strategic plan has increasingly become a thing of the past.
Today, organizations must deliver rapid results and sustainable growth simultaneously and react more quickly to both threats and opportunities.
To bring about an effective change management program in your organization, there are some simple steps you can follow.
1. Clearly identify what needs to be improved
Change is necessary to improve a product, a system, a process or an outcome within an organization. When determining what needs to be changed, it’s critical to determine what the desired outcome will be, set goals and begin planning the process of change.
2. Plan for change
Planning can never be underestimated. When you have a plan in place for managing change in the workplace, everyone on your team can understand what it is you are trying to achieve and the steps that need to be followed in order to achieve those goals.
3. Allocate resources
Clearly identify the resources that are needed and allocate them to tasks as part of the change management initiative. You may also need to consider resources such as new equipment, software, hardware, accommodation, and other tools that will help bed the change initiative down in your organization.
4. Communicate your change
Effective communication can be the difference between your project’s success or failure. You need to clearly communicate your project to your stakeholders –internal and external – and help them to understand what the change is, why it is necessary and how it is going to take place.
Communication should be ongoing, over a period of time, using a number of communications channels. Ideally you will have leadership within the organization involved in the communication process, taking at top-down approach. Two way communication where employees can ask questions and give meaningful feedback can also help your project’s success.
5. Provide training
When you have new systems, processes and procedures it’s important that your employees receive proper training so they can perform at their best right from the start. A uniform training program will ensure that everyone is told the same information and will know exactly what to do and what is required of them, helping with employee buy-in and reducing the likelihood of costly mistakes and inconsistent work practices.
6. Manage employee resistance
Some level of resistance should be unsurprising: it’s human nature to push back against change as it puts people out of their comfort zones. However high levels of employee resistance can derail the entire project and threaten its success.
Employees resist change because they don’t like having to do things a new way, they fear the unknown or because they can see that there is a risk to doing things differently. Anticipating these responses and being prepared to deal with them will help your change project run more smoothly.
7. Review and revise your project
A change project might not finish in the timeframes you originally allocated. This is because you should be reviewing the project and its success and determine if there is anything additional that could be done to improve on it. Make any adjustments that are necessary in order to ensure the project is a success and part of your ongoing business operations.
How to use DeskAlerts in 2020 to successfully manage change in the workplace
When it comes to communicating with and engaging your employees on various aspects of your change management initiative, look no further than DeskAlerts, an all-in-one internal communications software solution.
DeskAlerts is build around a platform that sends notifications directly to employees’ computer screens, cell phones, tablet devices and to any other digital screen within your organization.
Notifications are sent quickly and easily to your entire organization, or to specific groups of employees.
Other internal communications methods such as email or intranet sites don’t have the same cut-through as DeskAlerts. Emails can go unread in overloaded mailboxes. Intranet information relies on the reader knowing that there is information to be found and where to look for it.
DeskAlerts bypasses these methods entirely. Messages are displayed in a way that cannot be skipped or ignored and you can be sure that your critical communications are being received and noticed.
- Pop-up alerts that appear on employees screens informing them about important developments in your change initiative.
- Video alerts where you can send video content outlining your initiative direct to employees’ screens.
- Corporate screensavers and wallpapers where you can deploy reminders about the change process, for example timelines or key messages about the change, in a more passive way, reinforcing the messaging you are sending via other channels.
- Scrolling desktop tickertape with key points and links to further information, crawling along the bottom of employees’ screens.
- Surveys, polls and quizzes module where you can gather valuable feedback from your employees in real time about any aspect of the change management process.
- Digital signage – turn any screen in your organization into a billboard with graphics and other content displaying information about your change initiative.
- Gather statistics in real time to determine which employees have seen your messages and which ones have not.