Change has always been a part of running a business. In the past, changes were often subtle and slow, but these days, changes are coming at us like a roaring freight train. Significant changes require a formal strategy. You need a formal Change Management Plan in these situations:
- After employee satisfaction or engagement surveys
- After customer surveys or feedback
- When economic conditions change
- When personnel changes occur that impact the organization
- When your business is in a stage of growth
- When new technologies disrupt the status quo
- When new competitors arise
Things to keep in mind:
- Systematically address the human side of change. People resist change because they feel anxious about keeping up productivity and losing grasp of their job. Assure them they will receive complete training and support.
- Keep your company culture in mind – remember to handle internal and external employees differently, if necessary. Consider how prepared your employees are for the coming change. What are their core values, beliefs, behaviors, and perceptions?
- Engage people of all levels in the organization to successfully navigate the change. Make your case to management while still in the development stage of changes to gain buy-in. This aligns your upper-level staff and then cascades down to all levels, helping to mitigate resistance. It is critical that management speak with one voice and models desired behaviors.
- Ensure employees know why and the extent to which things need to change. Speak to individuals and provide personal counseling, if needed. Make the benefits of change visible, such as productivity improvements, bonuses, and recognition. Be as open and honest with employees as possible.
- Know when to start a change - do not embark on an organizational change when only 3% of your employees are unhappy.
- Prepare for the unexpected, and continually monitor and fine-tune the changes you made.
We can help you with any and all of these Change Management processes:
- Coordinating the entirety of the Change Management plan
- Creating employee satisfaction surveys, and developing useful questions to ask
- Setting up anonymous surveys and collating the results
- Consulting with the leadership team to define the pieces of the puzzle
- Working through the capability of the business to address short, intermediate and long term issues
COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE!
When it comes to managing change, you simply cannot over-communicate. Again we say, you simply CANNOT over-communicate. Employees not only need to hear about change, they need to absorb and internalize it. Inspire them to own the change and the goal. Remember that communication is a two-way street. Use multiple, redundant channels to get the word out, and solicit feedback so they know they are key players in the change. Give progress reports to all involved as you move toward the goal.
Oh, and did we mention that you can’t over-communicate? We can help with that, too.