How to successfully implement change in your business
Mike Hoff, Certified Gazelles International Coach and Founder & CEO of MHC offers five ways a company can make a smooth transition.
When the nature of a business evolves or the structure needs amending, significant changes can be felt by all employees. It is never easy to manage a business at the best of times, but when change is thrown into the mix, your managerial leadership skills really come into play. A Danish study of over 92,000 employees across more than 1,500 companies concluded that organisation change results in increased stress-related illnesses for employees. Companies that manage change effectively are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their competitors financially, with their employee satisfaction higher than those who do not implement changes correctly.
Although just over half of companies who implement amendments are successful initially, long term only 25 per cent will meet their planned objectives. Whatever the change being made in your company, communication is key to its success. Use these five approaches to help manage transformation smoothly.
Start at the top
‘Lead by example’ is an ideal philosophy to adhere to when it comes to change management in your organisation. Transition is an unnerving time for all employees, with many not knowing how to implement change effectively. Start with your top tier leaders and make sure every member is on the same page with the required transformations and how best to put them into practice. A third party consultant can lead workshops on the process and help managers put together a strategy that will least affect employees. Once your managers are confident of the changes, this morale will filter down to the rest of your team.
Always think about the people
While the change may be financially driven, it’s your employees who will be most impacted. In general, 50 per cent of employees prefer stability in the work place, so any disruption can be extremely stressful. According to the Towers Watson 2014 Global Workforce Study, employees who prefer stability tend to be less engaged than employees who prefer change. To address this, you can give employees different roles in the transformation of the company, so they feel needed and assured. This will ultimately improve their engagement levels, which will reflect in their productivity and work ethic.
By creating ownership through empowerment within the team, you can encourage employees to embrace change more easily. This should be led by each manager taking ownership for implementing the changes within their team and ensuring each person is fully supported before, during, and after the process. Business owners can execute this by assigning roles. For example, certain people can be in charge of gathering employee feedback, others can be responsible for organising team workshops to learn more about the new implementations, while some focus on producing diverse ways to communicate the new plans. This approach stimulates teamwork and the positive feelings that come from working towards a common cause.
Communication is key
A breakdown in communication is the quickest way to fail while implementing organisation-wide change. Rumours and secrets can create a hostile work environment and decrease morale, which will ultimately affect productivity and passion. By creating an ambitious communications programme, you can make sure your employees are kept in the loop every step of the way, while putting them at ease and increasing their loyalty.
Prepare for the unexpected
Changes never go as smoothly as planned, so make sure you are prepared for any challenges that may lie ahead. As mentioned above, 75 per cent of companies making changes will fail at achieving their objectives, so make sure you put together two or three back up plans just in case things do not go as expected.