Top Tips for motivating people during change

The rapid pace of change means that inspiring people and giving them what they need to succeed has never been more important.

Here’s what you might consider when developing and delivering change to people through learning, communications and change management:

Make it meaningful – Make the move from ‘this is what you need to do’, to ‘this is why we are doing this’ and ‘this is how we plan to do it and this is what it will mean for you’.

‘Why’ is always more inspiring than ‘what’, giving you the chance to weave in the big picture. This speech by Simon Sinek confirms just how powerful ‘why’ really is. His theory? People buy into why you do something not what you do.

Align everything from Learning to Engagement –  Avoid the common pitfall of making the learning all about the technology. Every time you connect with people is a chance to build bridges and get your message across and get their feedback. Every aspect of delivery should be connected, from PPM to change management, to learning to communications and engagement.

Key tip for this: Consider scenario based learning because it will help people connect what they do every day to what is changing. They can see how their job might be made better.

Allow for reflection and questioning – If the learning and comms is facilitative rather than directive there will be more interaction and conversation and people need  opportunities to get involved to stay motivated. It helps if the facilitator is comfortable if the workshop or learning session goes in unplanned directions, because this is when it gets really relevant and interesting for people.

Test your assumptions – In 1960, Douglas McGregor identified a set of management assumptions, Theory X and Theory Y, about staff motivation.

Managers with Theory X assumptions behave as though they think their staff hate working, avoid responsibility, lack ambition and need controlling and direction.

Managers with Theory Y assumptions think people appreciate encouragement, seek work place fulfilment, are creative and assume responsibility in the right environment.

Theory Y thinking brings out the best in people so it’s worth thinking positively like this when communicating during change and encouraging middle managers to support their people during change.

Celebrate wins and encourage early adopters to be positive role models. Always highlight the milestones clearly as it gives people a sense of being on a journey and makes everything seem a bit more winnable.

What tips do you have for encouraging and motivating people during change?

Five tips for reducing the impact of redundancies

Large scale redundancies are all too common in business, especially in the North Sea at the moment. They mean huge uncertainty and massive change for remaining employees. So, how can we make it easier for them and help minimise the impact of redundancies on a business?

Firms facing large personnel losses will need to manage the loss of talent and knowledge. There can also be a risk of low morale and a drop in employee engagement which can have serious consequences for performance and productivity.

But risk can be reduced by change management activities which help prepare the business and its people for the changes ahead.

Here are 5 tips for reducing the negative impact of streamlining on the business:

  • Get under the skin of the challenges facing the business. This is about really knowing the business; its people, its culture and heartbeat. Carrying out an impact analysis, stakeholder mapping and training needs analysis will help you identify where skills and knowledge might be lost when employees leave and where and how to focus your engagement and communication efforts.
  • Give staff a roadmap of change. Large scale change can cause huge uncertainty. Outlining what to expect in a roadmap helps people to see the reasons behind the changes and the vision for the future. Interactive roadshows are ideal for breathing life into the roadmap and creating conversations; ensuring communication is two way. Leadership needs to communicate its vision in a way that inspires and involves people and that means getting in front of them and giving them a chance to air their concerns, be heard and get some answers.
  • Regular, relevant and engaging internal communications. Carry out a channel analysis and provide what the audience want, in the way they want and when they want it.  Rebrand existing collateral where needed and be creative to really showcase the value and pride that staff have in their work and company.
  • Take a pulse check. Are your communications having the reach and impact they need to? Have you implemented measurement? Use a survey or other tools to carry out a ‘pulse check’ and measure against established metrics. This will give valuable insights and feedback but you must act on it. Employees must be meaningfully involved with change and be able to have genuine input.
  • Knowledge sharing. Large scale change can mean a loss of valuable skills, knowledge and talent. It’s important to engage with those going and those staying. Multi-media will bring knowledge transfer and training and learning to life and provide active knowledge share capability. Create ‘pride stories’ and the desire to leave a legacy in the form of great knowledge transfer. For those staying, establish where the gaps in knowledge exist and maximise opportunities for them to ‘be a sponge’ before their colleagues leave. This will help retain the expertise and knowledge of ‘how things are done around here,’ which inevitably are not documented in any process.

Large scale redundancies are challenging for remaining employees and there needs to be careful and consistent change management and a real focus on people. How you know them, involve them, prepare them and deliver to them will affect future profitability.


Further resources:

Take our free online Change Readiness Assessment 

Dreamflight presents Afiniti’s Kirsten Walker with Award

The charity Dreamflight takes 192 seriously ill and disabled children on a trip of a lifetime to Florida each year.

The trip builds vital confidence in children who have experienced such challenging times and reassures them they are not alone. Afiniti has supported Dreamflight through fundraising for several years. We’ve all been running for the charity this year and have so far raised £2,208.05 in 2014. Here is Kirsten Walker’s account of Dreamflight Bedford group’s annual awards which she attended recently on behalf of Afiniti:

Copyright MRCPhoto

Copyright MRCPhoto

‘I was lucky enough to represent Afiniti at this year’s Dreamflight Charity event at the Bedford Golf Club. It was a beautiful evening with a turnout of about 80 people. There were raffles, auctions and a tombola (a word new to me as a Canadian!).

‘I met an inspiring woman on my table that night, Natasha Baker. She is 24 and was a Dreamflight child back in the late 90’s but is now one of their biggest fundraisers and a Paralympian gold medallist in dressage from London 2012 (she is now pushing for Rio!). Her speech was touching as she attributes her success to the confidence and independence the Dreamflight trip brought her. I was the one to present her with the award of most money raised doing a skydive back in May. We were also presented with an award of our own: Special Recognition Award for our continued support.

‘It was a great night full of fun and a few tears as some really touching stories were told and really emphasised the great work Dreamflight has done and continues to do.’

To find out more about Dreamflight and see the great work it does, visit the website here

Using the power of leadership and change to tackle Tesco’s crisis

If there’s one thing Tesco’s reporting meltdown tells us, it’s that the only way to stay profitable is to be open, transparent and accountable – without trust, profits are in trouble.

The news that Tesco botched its financial reporting to the tune of £250m, and saw large amounts wiped off its share value since Monday 25th September, means that change is now inevitable at the large retailer. As well taking a look at the way it reports its supplier financials, leadership now has to step up and play a vital role in restoring trust and accountability and confidence amongst employees, consumers and investors.

There now seems to be a need for transparency and open, honest behaviour and that must come from the top. Now is the time for leadership to be heard.

A culture of open and honest dialogue

There is sometimes a tendency to mis-report when times are tough. Add to this, suppliers and other commentators have recently spoken out about how Tesco managers tend to report supplier profit. In this context, open and honest exchanges may not be the norm. There might be a tendency towards ‘presenting’ the picture stakeholders and leadership want to see, rather than a difficult reality. This situation might thrive in a retail environment unless it becomes acceptable to admit failure or to raise a hand over concerns. The task here is for leadership to have open and honest dialogue and set this type of communication as a defining feature of Tesco’s culture. Admitting failure is not a bad thing in business. Leaders must really listen to what employees are telling them and act on feedback.

Living the values

There will be some tough decisions about supplier management and subsequent reporting, but whatever changes Tesco makes, leadership is now tasked with restoring trust and belief amongst stakeholders and employees. Talking with conviction and passion about the values that Tesco must hold dear to preserve integrity will set the tone for behaviours throughout the company. Leadership sets the precedent for behaviours and must live and breath the values it wants to see demonstrated by everyone.

Presence and accessibility

It can be tempting, even for those at the top, to hide away but their ears need to be to the ground and they should work closely with internal teams, especially Communications, to ensure they have visibility and are giving employees the big picture and a way forward.

Tesco’s predicament shows us that companies that are not honest and transparent endanger their ongoing success. Leadership always sets core values and the question is whether, at Tesco, it will step up its presence and convince people.


The impact of employee engagement on projects

Research from McKinsey shows that projects are much more likely to be successful when employees are engaged and involved

Very often, technology change such as Cloud deployment, is not seen as being business or cultural change. Often this is the main reason why employee engagement is not adequately boosted beyond the common BAU function during projects and programmes.

In addition to having employee engagement practices for BAU, projects need further, unique opportunities for employees to engage with a project and make contributions. Designing a communications strategy to engage employees with the business change must facilitate two way communication, convey what the changes will do for users and consider the overall impact of the business change for a variety of stakeholders.

In spite of the clear case for greater employee engagement with the business change, the figures from the McKinsey research are still surprising – in the case of unsuccessful projects, 35% of respondents did not contribute at all. In extremely successful projects, the employees who did not make any contribution to the project falls to 1%.

employee engagement