When we think of change in the workplace, we often think of big events like a merger with another company or a shift to hybrid working, but change can be as little as being moved to a new desk or position in the office. It can be a short-term change and temporary, or more long-term. Whatever the change, it takes time to adapt and for some it’s a lot harder to accept than for others.
Within our world of share plans and reward, this change may consist of employees receiving their first share award – great news but completely new territory and jargon that’s completely alien. It may be you’ve decided to move everyone to a new admin platform – again, all of this seems like great news because there’s better features and more intuitive functionality, but it’s still asking people to change from something that they know and are familiar with.
The management of change
You’ve probably heard of the term ‘change management’ – however, how a company manages change can vary enormously depending on what the business does, what the change is for, how many people may be involved and what their understanding of the process may be. The way the change is delivered and how it influences the culture of the business really does determine its success.
Successful change management relies on four core principles:
- Understanding change
- Plan change
- Implement change
- Communicate change
Four relatively clear steps in working out how to implement a plan across the business, but let’s focus in on our area of expertise, communication.
How can communication provide support?
When introducing a change programme successfully, communication is key and one of the more complex areas of the operation as it involves an exchange of ideas and feelings with people in an organisation through various mediums. Effective communication must involve the following:
- The message must be simple and clear, whilst being authentic and genuine.
- Set out the objectives of change and give context to why it’s taking place.
- The audience, including both employees and other stakeholders, must be given the opportunity to ask questions, seek clarification and share feedback. Using social channels certainly helps encourage this,
- The method(s) in which the message is delivered should be easily accessible to all and be consistent throughout the period of change.
- Ensure you utilise a mix of digital and offline communication methods – giving people the opportunity to read, listen and watch.
- Ideally get your early adopters to champion the change.
Consider your colleague’s mindset – they’ll only alter this if they get the point of the change and can accept it. There are, of course, some conditions attached to being able to do this successfully, since mindsets aren’t just about being positive and accepting!
The communication plan is therefore a huge component of the whole change plan which helps to address the questions of how, what, when and why from the people’s perspective.
Communication needs to help nurture a culture where change is perceived as positive, progress and all part of sustainable performance. It needs to influence how people view changes in the workplace by encouraging curiosity,resilience and a growth mindset.
4 key ways to build a culture that accepts change:
Be failure friendly – encourage growth mindsets so that a failure isn’t seen as an inability to succeed but as a chance to learn.
Welcome new ideas and feedback – don’t stifle your colleague’s new ways of working, their fresh perspective could offer new ways of working from a point of view that hasn’t been considered.
Celebrate success – look at the effort and processes behind the success so you can build on what worked for the next project.
Reward milestones – through change programmes it’s easy to plough through to get to the end as quickly as possible. Step back and reward teams and individuals for successfully reaching these points. It’s a great way of helping them accept future change and encourage them to become champions for it.
So, the next time you want to bring about change and influence your colleagues, consider the four core principles we outlined and allow time to communicate effectively.
Do you have a change on the horizon and need some help?
Get in touch with us to talk this through – we’d love to hear more and see how we can help you. Whether it’s the launch of a new award or migration to a new admin portal, we’ll support you through the change curve to ensure your colleagues are on-board and engaged.