resistance to change

Three things you need to do to engage employees with change

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Did you know that we are bombarded with 174 newspapers’ worth of data and information each day?  This is four times the amount of just 25 years ago. So when delivering change it is vital that your programme stands out from the crowd and you engage employees with change.

Consider also, that the pace of change is increasing day by day as companies keep up with the competition and follow market trends in a bid to avoid the risk of failure.  There is pressure to innovate, introduce new solutions and find new ways of communicating so projects deliver full business benefits. So what can you do to ensure you engage employees and drive long term behavioural change?

Here are three principles:

Inspire

This is all about branding, storytelling and communicating a vision in a compelling way. Packaging and branding the changes makes it easier for your employees to understand the overall vision and what it means for them and the business.

Your story must be inspiring, it must be relevant, and it must be achievable.

Leadership must be on board and lead the change. They must be able to tell a compelling story about transformation and convey what the future looks like for people.   They need to explain to employees why potential disruption to working practices may be necessary and will lead to long term gain.

Involve

This is all about the tools for the job. Two way communications are needed to provide options for feedback and a comms toolkit is usually designed to reflect this. Here are some tips for encouraging employee engagement with change:

  • Create a change community with change advocates and agents.
  • Encourage user generated content from new or existing platforms. Learning networks, social enterprise tools and many forms of digital communication are making it easier to communicate. The rise of  iPhone-video, for example, has made it easier for organisations to collect and share ‘stories’ as a way of engaging people in complex change – creating a conversation about change that’s real, involving and interacting.
  • Make the most of increasingly open hierarchical structures – communities of practice and online networks etc – to create a line of sight across all levels in the organisation.

Interact

Change advocates are your biggest asset here. Utilising them can be a problem as they are often among the middle/senior management population – a traditionally hard group to engage with business change. They also need to be prepared to act as change advocates and will need coaching on their roles and what’s expected. They’re an important group though as they’re the ones who will directly communicate the change.

As always, feedback is essential. This should always be responded to. You’ll want your people to engage with the journey of change, ask questions, and want to find out more.

So when it comes to change management, just remember the three I’s – Inspire, Involve and Interact.