Change is not just confined to the workplace; it is all around us in our everyday life. As the pace of change continues to quicken, it becomes harder and harder to ignore. Some people can accept change quite easily, and will adapt very quickly to an ever changing environment. However this is not the case for everyone.
Change is about people who, as we all know, are creatures of habit, preferring stasis to change, adopting new systems, practices and behaviours. To deliver change successfully, you must change the practices and behaviours of your employees.
There are a number of key factors to consider when designing a programme to deliver change.
- Build a case for change – We can all build a business rationale quite simply, but it is more difficult to appeal to the employees’ emotional side so that they feel excited and willing to embrace change.
- Employee impact – identify where change will impact and on whom, and develop solutions to minimise the effect on people. Communicate, communicate and communicate. The more people know and understand, the more they will embrace. Identify those employees who are resistant to the changes and give additional help to support them through the process
- Trickle-down effect – transformation starts from the top and works downwards. Leaders need to set the example so that others follow them
- People change people – Employees need to demonstrate the behaviours to deliver the change but also to influence work colleagues and employees around them to change. This will have a ripple effect embracing in the business
- Make sure it sticks – Don’t finish too early and pat yourself on the back, you need to ensure that the behaviours and practices are integrated into the business so that it is not seen as temporary alterations.
My own personal assessment is that organisations fail to integrate the people aspects, or consider sufficiently the people aspects of change. I’m always amazed when these organisations express surprise when things go awry.
Employment law regularly changes with the introduction of new and updated legislation. This puts pressure on businesses to change their behaviours, practices and policies, which can have an effect on the culture of the business. Those who ignore change are those most liable for trouble further down the line…invariably including further expense.