Generally, in my work with clients, I come across two approaches to announcing a change management project:
- The Powerpoint presentation that details the change and expects every one to enact the change “as of next Monday”;
- A highly planned approach, with prescribed activities for each and every day from now until the change is implemented.
The missing element is a recognition of the impact that change has on people, and strategies for engaging the staff and working with and through the staff to achieve the same end goals.
Here are five things that you can do to ensure a successful change program:
- Forewarned is pre-prepared:
Begin speaking about the change some time before the event or rollout of the change. The larger the change, the longer that time period should be. Mechanisms for communication can include formal and informal approaches, meetings, in person, email, web, flier and posters.
- Align to strategic goals and Business Plan initiatives:
Link every communication to strategy, goals, initiatives and other frameworks that the organisation has in place.
- Listen to your staff:
Provide ample opportunities for staff to voice concerns. Answer them honestly and clearly. If you don’t have an answer to a question, promise to get back to them within 2 days — and make sure that you do! Opportunities for staff to voice their concern include individual personal meetings, team or whole-of-workforce meetings, a special email address for this purpose, using in-house social media technologies.
- Build engagement quickly through involving staff in the change:
Get everyone involved – in the planning, the execution of the plan, in selecting items such as furniture, fabrics etc, drafting guidelines, scheduling equipment and people movements etc.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate:
Share progress, share the challenges arising as the change program progresses. Share how results are being (positively) impacted by the change. Share progress against strategic goals and Business Plan initiatives.
In one of the best examples of change that I have seen involved the screen savers for computers and the front page for internet browsers were used to keep staff constantly involved, engaged and updated on progress of the very large change program under way in this organisation.