The business landscape is constantly shifting and changing. In order for your business to stay both competitive and viable, sometimes a change in direction for the company is necessary.
Human beings, however, are creatures of habit and many of us don’t enjoy change very much. In the workplace this can translate to recalcitrant staff resistant to change.
It is little wonder then that corporate change management programs have a terrible success rate. It’s estimated that around 70 per cent are doomed to failure.
Traditionally, when companies decide they want to go undergo a change process, the directive comes from the top – the board, the CEO and/or executive managers – and everyone is told what is expected of them and how the new structure will work.
But given that the statistics around failed change processes are so dire, perhaps it is time for a rethink of the way organizational change management is carried out.
Is change absolutely necessary?
This is a difficult one and can be a tad philosophical. But does your organization honestly have to change? What are the consequences of not changing? Are you considering implementing change because what you want to do is a trend or a fad or even change for the sake of change?
Abandon the top-down approach to change
Giving your employees some buy-in and a voice when it comes to designing the change systems can help to make it much more successful. Employees can sometimes feel resentful when they believe they don’t have a voice, and can feel that some changes simply won’t work at the coal face and management expecting them to succeed are simply out of touch.
Explaining what the problem is and what you want to achieve and encouraging your employees to collaborate in the change program is much more likely to guarantee success, as staff will have more ownership.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Don’t just send out an email from the CEO explaining there will be a change process and expect that is enough. You need to communicate constantly through the change process to ensure that your employees understand what is going on.
Like any communications campaign, it’s important to determine your key messages… and repeat them across a range of channels.
Commit to ongoing communications and updates. A great way to do this is via DeskAlerts, a smart internal communications solution that allows you to communicate with all your employees at the click of a button sending pop-up messages to their PC screens that can’t be skipped or ignored.
Be clear about what you are asking to change
Confusing motherhood statements, diagrams, flow charts and other material can be completely baffling outside of the boardroom. When you’re expecting the employees on the ground to understand and embrace change, you need to be extremely specific about what it is you are doing.
It’s not enough to tell your people that you need to change, you need to be clear about why. And when it comes to how change will be implemented, you need to ensure your employees understand clearly what will change, what will stay the same, and when the change will take place.