Benefits of Stakeholder Engagement and Strong Culture: 6Lever™ Change Readiness Assessment Insights
In the final entry of our 6Lever™ Change Readiness Assessment Insights, partner and managing consultant Dee Patel explores the benefits of stakeholder engagement and a strong, change-ready culture for delivering successful transformations.
We all know achieving successful change isn’t just about new policies and procedures; it’s about the people who drive those changes. As such, an organisation’s Culture and Engagement are two essential elements that can make or break the success of any transformation.
Previously, we’ve looked at Afiniti’s 6LeverTM tool – the result of over 20 years of change management experience, distilled into a simple yet impactful methodology which seeks to understand an organisation’s readiness for change. Is the organisation able to rapidly adapt to new ways of working? Can it respond and innovate quickly? Does it capitalise on opportunities and respond effectively to resistance?
Having explored Leadership and Drivers and Change Methodology and Capability, this article explores why Culture and Engagement are the glue that holds successful, sustainable change together – and some of the steps you can take to help drive positive outcomes.
The power of organisational culture
Organisational culture is a culmination of the values, beliefs, behaviours and norms that define an organisation. It’s the collective personality that defines how employees interact, collaborate and make decisions. Culture plays a pivotal role in the success of change initiatives for several reasons:
Alignment with strategic goals: A strong culture that is aligned with the organisation’s strategic goals can act as a catalyst for change. When employees share a common vision and values, they’re more likely to embrace and support changes that are in line with those ideals.
Resistance or acceptance: In organisations with a culture that resists change, implementing any transformation becomes an uphill battle. On the other hand, a culture that embraces innovation and adaptation will be more open to – and thrive through – change initiatives.
Behaviour reinforcement: Culture can reinforce desired, shared behaviours, which often get overlooked in favour of tools and processes. A culture that values positive behaviours such as collaboration, for instance, can facilitate smoother transitions and adoption when introducing new tools, processes or work structures.
Employee motivation: A positive culture can motivate employees to invest their time, energy, and creativity in supporting the change process. When people believe in the purpose behind change, they are more likely to commit to its success.
Ideally, an organisation’s culture would demonstrate a forward-thinking, integrated and constructive approach to dealing with change and, let’s face it, the challenges change can bring. Understanding your current culture, for example by completing as assessment such as 6Lever™, helps to create a clear baseline and roadmap towards a desired future state. It will illuminate areas where deep-seated roots need to be shifted, and where you can leverage latent, positive energy to drive change.
The role of employee engagement
Employee engagement speaks to the emotional commitment and enthusiasm that your people have for their work and their organisation. The benefits of stakeholder engagement will see employees become more productive, innovative and dedicated. When it comes to change, engaged employees can be the driving force for success:
Open communication: Engaged employees are more likely to participate in open and honest dialogue about change. They feel comfortable sharing their concerns, suggestions and feedback, which can provide valuable insights for a successful transformation.
Adaptability: Engaged employees are generally more adaptable and open to new ideas. They are willing to learn and grow, making it easier to implement change that requires new skills and knowledge.
Initiative: Engaged employees are proactive. They take ownership of their work and the organisation’s success, which can be crucial during periods of change. They are more likely to seek out solutions to problems and drive change from within.
Emotional resilience: Change can be stressful, and engaged employees tend to be more emotionally resilient. They can cope better with uncertainty and the challenges that come with change, reducing the negative impact on productivity and morale.
To realise the benefits of stakeholder engagement, you need to connect impacted employees to the change and keep them informed from the start and beyond the implementation of any change. An engaged organisation has positive ‘water cooler’ conversations – they reflect an optimistic, committed and relaxed mood.
Culture and Engagement: the symbiotic relationship
Culture and Engagement are closely intertwined. A positive organisational culture can enhance employee engagement, while engaged employees can help reinforce and shape the culture.
Afiniti recently facilitated the 6LeverTM change readiness assessment with a global life sciences company seeking to roll out a new strategy and cultural change, setting the organisation up for significant growth targets. Our work revealed high Culture and Engagement scores within the leadership team, but this had yet to permeate into the rest of the organisation, signalling a disconnect between leaders and their teams.
We coached the leadership team to act as visible role models and translators of the change. We recommended leaders spend more time talking to people, with more consistent messaging through a variety of channels on why the change is happening, highlighting how individuals have a place in – and can contribute to – the change journey. Articulating ‘what’s in it for me?’ is a surefire way to secure support for change.
We also recommended the creation of feedback loops throughout the change to increase psychological safety and transparency, allowing people to say it like it is in real-time and feel heard, as well as providing a clear line of sight into how this feedback was being used to inform decisions and build a culture of inclusivity. This helped shift people from passive recipients of change to active advocates.
In addition to visible leadership commitment, clear communication and employee involvement in the change, we also recommended a robust engagement and training plan to help employees adapt to the changes effectively. This included formally and informally rewarding and recognising those who were open to change and sharing compelling success stories narrated by their people to pave the way.
Investing in Culture and Engagement
Ultimately, a strong culture and high engagement levels generate benefits beyond just the change programme. A set of employees who are collectively more aligned and motivated will unlock greater levels of productivity against any backdrop and will drive more efficient, value-adding activity despite change.
An organisational culture that supports the change objectives, combined with engaged employees who are motivated, informed and involved, can make all the difference. The benefits of stakeholder engagement and a strong, change-ready culture can pave the way for a smoother and more successful transition into the future, ensuring that change becomes an opportunity for growth and maximises the potential for success in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world.
Interested in assessing your organisation’s culture and engagement? You can take a sample of our change readiness assessment tool here. Or, if you would like to discuss how your organisation’s culture and engagement can impact your specific change, I’d be happy to discuss this with you – please do get in touch.