You’re bound to experience changes in your workplace and job role at some point. We’ve seen a huge amount of change in the workplace over the last few years with the shift to remote and hybrid work, turbulent economic times and new and emerging technologies, and one thing’s certain - it hasn’t been easy.
Employers desire a workforce that is resilient and willing to adapt to changes with ease. But this dream isn’t always a reality. Gartner has found that there are increasing waves of ‘change fatigue’ in workplaces and we found that 43% of UK employees believe their place of work is not effectively prepared for change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it requires a clear vision, outlined steps and a whole lot of communication.
Change is important because when done right, successful change brings an abundance of advantages…
- It keeps your business growing and thriving: Organisational change, when done successfully, can bring about more streamlined processes and strategies, which increase efficiency and productivity to keep your workforce and workflow thriving.
- It encourages innovation: Change can bring about environments that support innovation and creativity which can lead to new ideas, products and services.
- It creates new opportunities: Organisational change enables businesses to adapt to market conditions, stay relevant in the midst of competition and enables you to capitalise on new opportunities.
- It can improve morale: Engaging your employees during change and guiding them through it successfully, will make your employees feel included and give them a united goal to work towards which can foster the spirit of teamwork and collaboration.
In this blog we’ll be looking at examples of organisational change, how to engage employees during change and 6 crucial steps for successful change in the workplace.
Examples of Organisational Change
What types of organisational change are there?
- Strategic: Changes made to the business to mitigate threats and leverage new opportunities. This could be anything from changes in management style to the overall business strategy.
- Structural: This type of change involves changing the organisation's structure. This could involve mergers and acquisitions, acquiring new business units or creating new departments to improve efficiency and pursue new routes.
- Technological or Process Orientated: Implementing new software or hardware tech to help with the automation of tasks and the adoption of new manufacturing or production methods are all types of technological and process style change.
- People-Orientated: This type of change involves anything related to employees. This can be changes to culture, employee training or onboarding new hires.
- Transformational: Transformational change can include all of the above - this type of change completely reshapes your business. This can be the most disruptive type of change and can sometimes last for longer periods of time.
Employee Engagement during Change
70% of change initiatives fail because employees aren’t engaged or on board with the change. This is a statistic that could be drastically different if organisations make communicating change a priority.
When you communicate with your employees properly, they become engaged. Subsequently, your engaged employees will be hugely supportive of your organisation and its values and goals. When employees aren’t engaged, they’ll be actively resistant to change and are likely to suffer from poor performance and maybe even search for jobs elsewhere.
Aon Hewitt found that only 25% of employees feel that their organisation is effective at managing change. Here are some tips to ensure you can effectively implement and manage change in the workplace…
6 Essential Steps to Implement Change in the Workplace
As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. McKinsey and company found that only 33% of respondents said that their organisation has a clear process for developing and executing change initiatives. When implementing changes in the workplace, these are essential for transformational success:
1. Stakeholder Impact Assessment
If you really want change to work, ownership and commitment from all levels of the business is essential for a positive outcome. Doing this ensures your employees feel included, considered and allows for any conflicts of interest to be discussed before anything is actually implemented. Employee voice is crucial in this process.
Once you have your stakeholders identified you need to be able to send messages to all the necessary groups. Oak’s curated content system is the ideal solution , allowing you to segment and target your audiences with specific messaging that’s tailored and relevant to them.
How: Identify your stakeholders and how to communicate with them effectively using our Stakeholder Impact Assessment template. Having this enables you to have a clear understanding of your different audiences, how they’re affected and the best ways to guide them through change.
2. Define Clear Outcomes
We found that 38% of UK employees say, a fear of the unknown would make them resistant to change, similarly 39% said a lack of awareness would also make them resistant to change. You need to clearly define the change process.
How: Decide on timelines, outcomes, the impact of change and the benefits that the change will bring. This gives your workforce a clear picture of why the change is happening and why it’s for the better. Internal communicators must use this opportunity to curate a positive vision around change, with clear steps for each team so people aren’t left with ambiguity and anxiety around change.
3. Encourage Employee Input
23% of UK employees say exclusion from change-related decisions would make them resistant to change. Including your employees' opinions from the start will help raise awareness across teams, bring people together about the change and ensure employee voice is prioritised. All of this will help create a more positive outlook on the change as employees will feel like they’re in control and part of the journey.
How: Utilise features like Pulse Surveys & Polls where employees can give feedback and raise any issues or suggestions. Create a hub for the specific change process you’re going through to post updates and allow two-way conversation throughout.
4. Communicate regularly throughout
Only 36% of employees think change is communicated well in their organisation. If you don’t communicate change properly within your organisation you open the doors to rumour mills, spreading misinformation and the truth getting lost and diluted.
How: Make sure you have a plan in place on how frequently you’re going to communicate with employees. Will you send messages weekly? Daily? Who can people go to if they need questions answering regarding changes? Where will you send your messages, and are employees aware of where they need to go for updates? These are all important things to consider.
5. Celebrate Achievements
It’s not always about the end goal, it’s the journey we take to get there and this mustn't be ignored during periods of difficult change. Make sure you’re celebrating employees' hard work and wins, and encouraging people to learn from the setbacks.
How: Highlight team members in stand ups or use employee recognition features to showcase your appreciation company wide. This will help boost morale, performance and help create a culture of recognition.
6. Value Feedback
Data is key and this is no different during organisational change. Understanding and checking in with your employees during change is essential for understanding how they feel, where improvements can be made to ensure the best possible outcomes.
How: Using Pulse surveys at the end of your change initiative is a great way to understand how employees felt about the whole process and how you can make improvements.
In a Nutshell…
Implementing change effectively all boils down to carefully considering your employees first and foremost, from how the changes will affect them to how you’ll communicate that with them and support them through that - your employees should be high on your list of priorities, after all, they’re the people that will make your change a success, or a failure.
Did the statistics in this article interest you? We have more insights and information on organisational change in our Change Report which you can download right here…