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Archive for October, 2010

Employee Communication: How to Change Mindsets and Behaviour

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

The most common question I am asked in workshops is how to change the mindset and behaviours of employees who don’t want to come along on the journey of change.  What can an organisation do to change the way people think and behave?

Firstly it is important to note that by simply communicating information about change this will not change behaviour.  Secondly not everyone will come with you early on in the journey. Typically the ratio is 20% that are early adapters to change, 40%  indifferent and 40% had already decided before you even announced the change that they would not participate.

Finally process changes behaviour with a change in process no behavioural change will occur.  So by using this information how I would approach this?

 1.Identify the early adapters the 20% and ultise their support by engaging and involving them in your change process.  By leading by example and applying peer pressures and a bit of rivalry due to achievements it is a good way to start.  However this only works if the outcomes are meaningful to the other members of the team that you are aiming to bring on board.

 2.As part of your communications program ask the early adapters to be your spokespeople on the changes and to address any concerns or peers that the other managers have.  You might also ask that they participate in workshops with the next group in working on the changes – this moves the communication from information to engagement.

 3. And thirdly put in place a process to change behaviour.  So in this instance you might initiate a buddy system and regular reporting of the new group to ensure that the work is being done and the changes implemented.  If employees are required to do something different this new behaviour soon becomes a habit and the new way of doing things, so if you are introducing new values you might require each team leader to work through a different value at each team meeting and ask them to come up with what their team can do to bring that value to life.  This information would then be noted and then measured to see how effective it is.

Getting traction with change is difficult because it is about changing people’s behaviours.  Recognising the above 3 points will go some way to making your change initiatives a success. However there are two important things to remember to change behaviour and mindsets.  The first is that process changes behaviour, not information about what is happening so make sure that all your engagement efforts include a process to reinforce the change.  And secondly recognise that not everyone will come with you on the journey of change, segmenting employees into early adapters, the indifferent group and those that have already decided not to participate gives you structure to your engagement process.  The goal is to focus on the early adapters, utilise their support to engage those in the indifferent category and then focus on moving some of those in the group that have already decided not to participate to join the change process.