The word ‘change’ often yields uneasiness in almost all people. Resistance to change is a natural human trait. But this does not necessarily mean that we cannot make a good change at all. I have been into entrepreneurship for years now and tried to make changes on the way – with varying levels of resistance from the team. What I do know is that there is a right and wrong way to implement change.
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How to Implement Change in the Workplace
Create the Message for Change.
Recognise the message that employees, who are influenced by any modifications, would want to hear. Note the significance of business motives for change in the workplace like mutually cooperated effort support, fresh technology investment, or expenditure reduction. Ensure that your team know the ‘why’ behind the changes.
Removal of the barriers.
There can be a lot of barriers encountered by employees when adjustments are implemented. These barriers may include insufficient training, supply needs, lacking equipment, other departments, or other employees. Ensuring that employees will be able to implement the change is your primary responsibility. However, there are cases when your employees have to move on for the implementation to become successful.
Involve them in the decision-making process.
I’m not talking about them taking over but make it a consultative process, so that they are given the opportunity to provide input. Remember often change is occurring around their jobs, of which they know best. They have some valuable input and suggestions to make it work far better. If they are involved, they will also be more accepting of the change and even take ownership of its success.
Stagger the change.
It may be that you want the entire organisation to move to paperless, but start with one aspect and work on that only. Little bite size chunks make it easy for people to cope. It also eases them into the idea and allows management to review how things are going. If a modification method needs a tweak, easy to action after one experience, than to have staff up in arms over an extensive change.
Support for Change from the Management.
The top management should support the changes enforced and should demonstrate it as you interact or communicate with your staff. Try to be a model of the change you would want for the organization. In turn, employees will feel comfortable on whatever outcome these adjustments may cause them. If owners and managers are not willing to embrace the change and lead by example, how on earth can they expect their team to do so?
Understanding Staff’s Attitudes.
When you already have the support from the management, particularly in larger organisations, know willingness of your employees towards change using different approaches. Meet with representatives from various working groups and make discussions so that individuals will invest in your plan. Conduct a survey of the employees affected by changes to determine your readiness. This might be a great help in modifying your communication approaches and in improving your messages.
Making a Case for the Change.
Creating a case for change is very significant as no one would want to change anything just for the sake of change. Change can be the outcome of collected data on customer satisfaction survey, customer comment cards, defect rates, budget pressures, business goals due to a strategic planning session, or employee satisfaction survey. Using data in determining the areas where improvement is necessary help affect positive change.
Involvement of Employees.
Since you are in the same organization, everyone affected by the change should get involved in its implementation beyond the consultative process. Large or small, organizational change needs to be properly explained and communicated to all your employees. This is critical in changes affecting the performance of employees in their respective jobs. What matters most here is for employees to better understand the reason for the change and take part in the creation of the new process.
Provide training around the change.
If the person implementing lacks the skills to implement then be sure to get a consultant on board, or have that person receive training. Once the new system, process or initiative is implemented, ensure suitable training is provided to ALL staff. Simply say ‘well her you go, go for it and good luck!’ is not part of effective implementation.
Communication of Change.
Whenever I am about to set change in my organisation, I always make sure that it will be systematically and structurally communicated to my staff. Otherwise, rumours on change will start spreading and may only result in reluctance to the change. This will make employees feel that their involvement in the process is acknowledged and keep them updated, and now there is no need for gossip.
Doing several follow-ups both during and after the implementation. If there is a challenge during implementation, you may need to get involved in order to affect a good outcome and reduce staff frustration. A tweak to the plan may be needed. After implementation, keep in touch with the team to ensure it still works and no one is struggling. You certainly don’t want some team essentially say “I do it the old way, it just works better”. Keep up the communication, if it’s going well (or not going well) keep team informed; acknowledging any challenges, but also reassuring team that you’re on it and making sure challenges will be resolved.
Sustain Change Behaviour and Celebrate with the Team.
Recognise and celebrate the success of doing things differently for your organisation. The success of change implementation needs to be celebrated. No matter how small the change is, it has to be celebrated as it will eventually build a momentum for much bigger changes. Publicly thank key team who have influenced or actioned great change. This way, your employees will be motivated to participate in the whole process. Just put yourself in their shoes and assess how you would feel when being recognised by the management.
Yes, I know, change can be scary and not quite easy for employees and leaders. But proper planning and execution are what it takes for the organizational change to be successfully implemented. I do business coaching for you and your staff, call me on 0411 622 666.