Three Ways You Can Socialize Change for Success
- 4 Min Read
Change is a ubiquitous occurrence that isn’t always welcomed. The common question is: why do we need to change?
Although it is necessary for businesses to change, what success can it actually bring, and why is it required? Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer, Talent Think Innovations delves into changing for success.
The assumption here is that everything worked just fine before. When change is required, it is hard to accept the justifications for it as it usually symbolizes some semblance of upheaval, chaos, and lack of comfort. While not always the case, it’s important that leaders have a pulse on how change is perceived and internalized by the workforce in an effort to ensure optimal levels of employee adoption and successful outcomes overall.
For many decades now, we have perpetuated the “suck it up” “you are lucky you have a job” delivery and mentality. I’m not so sure this is the right attitude. Conversely, it isn’t reasonable to expect to have complete concurrence for every decision you make as a leader. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and pick up the pieces after.
However, what if we owe our employees something more during the change management process? Perhaps, they feel ostracized or distant from the process. As leaders, isn’t it our job to not only manage the change, but to properly socialize it?
Here is the point where I believe we not only undermine the change management process, but we fail our employees. In order to have any measure of success in changing a process, policy or practice, you must consider its impact and assess the organization’s readiness to accept the impact of the change. Additionally, when the impact has been assessed-the overall change has to be communicated and socialized. When we take the attitude that our employees should accept change however rapid or difficult, we lose their attention, we lose their capacity to adapt and most importantly we lose their trust.
From the perspective of the employee, the assumption is usually that management has made an intentional decision to disturb the peace. It is also assumed that the change is being implemented as a means to spite the employees. Call assumptions what you will, they are as good as any truth and employees believe them with all of their being. This is the sort of thing that we have to get ahead of. Assumptions about change hold less clout and we gain champions in our employees when they are part of the process.
How do you make your employees part of the process?
You make them part of the process by having a communication plan for the element that is changing. Use that plan to give them opportunities to not only see the change in a positive light, but to poke holes in it as well. Employees need to see it, feel it, touch it, and process it before it’s rolled out. Change without warning feels like an organizational ambush. It’s not only rude to blindside your employees with change, but it is certain that the actual change will be poorly adopted and unappreciated.
If adoption, acceptance, and successful implementation of the change are the goal, you would be wise to do the following:
- Have a thorough blueprint for how the plan will be executed.
- Communicate the change regularly and early in the change process.
- Give opportunities for your employees to better understand the impact of the change.
- If it is a systematic change, provide opportunities for groups to get a feel for the different way of doing things.
- Where possible, allow for suggestions and/or input- especially if the change impacts how work gets done.
We are firmly in a time where adaptability to rapid shifts in business is fast becoming a critical skill. It is up to us leaders to ensure that our troops on the ground are equipped to meet the demands of business with a spirit of collaboration, clarity and respect for the work they do for us daily.