There are 5 ways that you can engage employees and leaders with change. If you follow each of these steps you will have successful outcomes partnering with the business to produce their desired business results.
The following are the 5 ways that have been proven to me to be the most effective and I will go into each in more detail in this article.
1 Process changes behaviour
2 Leadership Driven
3 Focus on the Why not the What
4 Communicate the tangible desired business results
5 Measure, implement and reward
So let’s explore the first one, process changes behaviour. You need to ask yourself the following questions when designing a change communication strategy.
- What communication process and activities can you design that changes the way people behave so that they do things differently to support your change program
- Processes should be designed as part of a complete change communication approach particularly to support the strategic reasons behind the change
- They should involve leaders at all levels of the organisation and employees
- It will always be some activity that you ask managers to lead with their teams and report back on.
So that brings us onto No 2 Change needs to be Leadership Driven.
- Give leaders at all levels something to do to actually drive the change process, that is an activity related to the main change not to ask them simply to communicate what is changing.
- Provide leaders with details on activities that they need to drive – these need easy to follow step by step instructions, if it is too detailed or complicated they won’t do it.
- Seek to obtain feedback from leaders and team members on what is working, what isn’t and why
- Make it relevant to their work area – they are busy so they need to see a direct business benefit – there needs to be a win for them
- It is important to remember that you are an enabler of the change by designing processes for others to implement and drive the change, it is the leaders in the organisation that need to own the change process
No 3 is to Focus on the Why not the What, this means focus on the reason for the change not the change itself.
- It is all about the strategy not the actual change
- With IT system changes, the change is not about the new system but why this particular system, what will it enable us to do, why is that important, how does it support the business strategy
- Link the dots between corporate strategy and change implemented locally
- Business connection – employees need to understand how what they are doing on a daily basis contributes to the corporate goals and vision
No 4 is Communicate the tangible desired business results
- Give employees and leaders a tangible goal – what specifically needs to improve, what is the goal
- Identify customer feedback, satisfaction scores, market share, or retail sales and create a focus on what needs to improve and why
- Allow employees the opportunity to contribute ideas to help organisations achieve their desired goals – frontline staff always in my experience know more about what would add value than a manager sitting in an office
The final way, No 5 is Pilot, Measure, Implement and Reward
- Once you have identified those goals you then pilot changes and ideas to measure the impact on achieving them
- Those changes that produced significant results in the pilot should then be implemented and measured across the company
- Recognise and reward employees for their contribution
Finally this approach to change then becomes business as usual, no matter what the strategy employees and leaders know this is how you engage employees in the process of change. You involve them directly in the change process instead of telling them what the change will be.