The change process in business is crucial to developing effective employees while sustaining a successful business plan. It can heavily impact how people work, and what their future career plans are. Organisations that are prepared for upcoming changes in the talent space will have a strategic advantage when they look to manage and attract talent.
“Being change ready isn’t just about systems and processes, it’s a mindset. Human beings often protect ourselves from change and perceived threats by becoming rigid and inflexible. That’s why the main barrier we see to businesses effectively responding to change is defensive behaviour,” said Jo Maddocks, Chief Psychologist, PSI Talent Management.
“Emotional Intelligence (EI) helps people recognise their defensive patterns and the feelings that drive them. They can then learn how to interrupt these patterns and create new, more helpful habits. Employees with high EI are flexible, adaptable, more collaborative, and see mistakes as an opportunity to learn – important skills in rapidly changing organisations.”
Having more engaged employees can lead to organisations being better prepared for the future of work. However, what is the connection between highly engaged employees and change management? Research by Right Management Manpower Group found that 34% of employees reported being fully engaged, and of those employees, 76% responded favourably when asked to report on their organisation’s performance in key areas impacting change management.
“From our research, we can see a strong relationship between engagement and change management. However, of the 66% of employees who reported being disengaged, only 33% reported favourably on their organisation’s ability to manage change,” said Michael Haid, Senior Vice President, Global Solutions.
“There is a significant need and opportunity to assess current change management strategies, not only to improve engagement but to ensure change initiatives are successful.”
Manpower Group highlighted some key drivers that can mould an effective change management strategy to secure talent:
- Senior leaders implement effective change.
- A safe and healthy workplace.
- Efficient work processes and people systems.
- Fit-for-purpose structure.
- Open and honest communication.
- Employees empowered to make changes to the way things are done.
- Teamwork between business units/departments.
- Resources to do the job well.
- Line managers have appropriate skills.
By considering these key drivers, creating a mindset where businesses are prepared for uncertain future changes could heavily benefit a workforce when adapting to certain shifts.
Despite having an effective change management strategy. Many businesses could struggle with retaining employees in turbulent times. If employees don’t feel secure and stable in their jobs through constant change, it could impact their morale and their future career plans.
Instilling a culture of transparency can be a powerful asset in turbulent times, allowing employees to thrive in an open environment, where the performance of a business is openly discussed. Furthermore, it can encourage people to speak out about their worries. Celebrating employee success and ensuring that every voice is heard can also heavily aid talent management strategies.
Besides prioritising culture, Jo Maddocks believes that Emotional Intelligence in leadership is key.
“In times of change, there is a greater need for emotionally intelligent leadership. EI in the workplace helps leaders to manage their emotional state in rapidly evolving conditions to adapt and perform effectively,” continued Jo.
“Managers with high EI will create an environment of psychological safety and a business culture where teams are prepared to change and try new things. This gives employees space and freedom to think, test and learn. Your people need to be creative and comfortable with risk to truly change.”
Organisations need to work towards building a level of trust with their employees. In the PwC 18th Annual Global CEO survey, more than half of all respondents cited lack of trust as a barrier to their future growth prospects – up from 37% over the last two years.
“Trust is a powerful asset. Levels of trust can determine how stakeholders interact with an organisation in the future because the way stakeholders’ view an organisation’s motivations and behaviour influence their current and future decisions and actions towards it,” said a spokesperson from PwC.
Building this level of trust with employees can be difficult for many businesses. It takes time, and constant communication to ensure this level of trust, especially throughout times of uncertainty.
If this level of trust is built, business leaders can use data to track the engagement and happiness levels of their workforces, providing them with an accurate example of where they stand in terms of talent management, ensuring that they’re fully prepared for upcoming changes.
Change is constant today and adapting to it is necessary. By designing a change readiness mindset in talent, business leaders can reap the benefits of being prepared for upcoming challenges in talent retention and management. Companies must be able to adapt to change to survive and grow, and prioritising talent in change management can lay the foundations of ensuring future business success.