Here’s How You Can Get Your Organization Ready For Change
The 2020 pandemic might (finally) be old news, but it’s taught us an unforgettable lesson: change really is the only constant. With rapid technological disruptions, changing customer demands, and shifting economic situations, companies and employees have had to reinvent themselves to stay relevant, remain productive, and grow in a fast-evolving world.
While you can’t predict every future disruption, you can certainly prepare your organization to adapt with ease and even thrive. Getting your company ready for change is also the crucial first step in successfully implementing any specific change initiative, from digital transformation to mergers or acquisitions.
If you’re confused about how to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with actionable steps to help you get your organization ready for change.
1. Change the Way You Talk About Change
The first step in getting your organization ready for change is to rethink how you look at it. Companies often view change as a last resort and resist it until it becomes necessary such as when a strategy is failing or they need to keep up with technology. However, there’s overwhelming evidence that companies that adapt in a timely manner and make proactive changes are more profitable, generating nearly 2x the EBIT margins compared to poor change performers.
The first step towards turning change into an opportunity instead of an inevitability is by looking at the way you address it.
- Do you talk about changing the way you would about a crisis?
- Are employee efforts to preemptively adapt to change rewarded?
- Do you see yourself calling an upcoming change event a ‘problem’?
Instead of seeing change as a problem to be "managed", shift to a proactive approach that embraces change as rocket fuel for growth and innovation. Replacing crucial terminology with more affirmative and actionable words will create a more dynamic outlook to change. And that in turn will go a long way in building an organization that will embrace change proactively.
2. Give Employees The Opportunity to Drive Change
If you want to create an organization that’s ready for change, make space for employees to get involved! Instead of expecting them to passively accept workplace shifts, give employees a voice in directing change within the company. You can do this by creating opportunities for employees to volunteer for change projects where they work with cross-functional teams dedicated to a specific business challenge. These projects help your company adapt faster to change while empowering employees to drive their own future. This approach helps you develop an agile workforce that’s ready for change and uses it to fuel innovation.
Developing an agile workforce is the key to accelerated change readiness. Volonte’s Agility Equation demystifies this further.
3. Help Employees Understand Why Change is Needed
When there’s confusion about the importance of a change, it’s hard for your employees to feel prepared for it. Getting your organization ready for change starts with clearly communicating the “why” behind each change. Unfortunately, only 13% of U.S. employees believe that their company leadership communicates with them effectively.
To get your organization ready for change, develop a clear vision that makes its purpose clear. This enables employees and stakeholders to remain focused and avoids any confusion about the expected results. To achieve this, avoid competing messages. Instead, share a clear narrative to ensure everyone involved is aligned with the objective.
Last but not least, help your employees stay on top of trends in your industry, and in workplace and career change.This will not only keep them informed about changes that are taking place in the industry but also help them understand the rationale behind the organizational change you are trying to implement. (On the Volonte Platform, we’ve created the Newsfeed to cover exactly this! If you’re curious, learn more here).
4. Assess Change Readiness Periodically
Once you have set your vision for change and defined a strategy, assessing change readiness at every stage of implementation is equally important. You might be powering through organizational change only to sometimes discover gaps in resources or training.
One way of assessing organizational change readiness would be by answering a series of questions periodically. Are the employees aligned with the organization’s proposed change? Is the leadership supportive? Are your systems equipped to handle the change technically?
The list of questions for your organization and the type of change may vary, but they will help troubleshoot a problem before it becomes a larger impediment to change. Employee engagement platforms focus groups, and surveys can be used to assess change readiness at frequent intervals. The Volonte platform offers weekly pulse surveys to help you get understand how employees are experiencing change at your organization and enables you to act on data-driven insights.
5. Overcome Resistance To Change
If change is the only constant, employee pushback isn’t too far behind. Whether it is psychological resistance through changing ownership of projects or towards new technology, it is going to be important to deal with resistance and overcome it as part of your change implementation. A mechanism that ensures employees can voice their concerns will make them more invested in the process and embrace change. It is time for you to take the role of a coach and ensure you leave no one behind in your journey toward a brighter future.
At the same time, don’t mistake feedback for pushback! Employees have valuable insights to share about proposed changes. After all, they’ll be impacted by them. Encouraging employees to share their inputs will help you identify potential barriers beforehand and adjust your strategy based on these newly-discovered factors.
6. Model the Change For Your Employees
In times of change, employees often look to their leader for support and cues. If their leader is handling change well, chances are that employees will do the same. Taking the lead and becoming a role model is one way of ensuring your organization and team are moving seamlessly toward change readiness.
Take on a dynamic role, become a problem solver, provide resources and training where necessary, and be the change you want to see in your team. When senior leaders model the changes they’re asking employees to make, transformations are 5.3 times more likely to succeed.
Change is difficult for employees and senior management alike. But, with the right approach, tools, and strategy, the challenges can be mitigated to adopt change proactively. An organization that looks at change as an opportunity, not an impediment, will grow by leaps and bounds!
Volonte is the change readiness platform that can help your employees do all this and more. Want to know more? Schedule a demo now.