How to Avoid Problems with Change Management in Your Organization
In any organization, there is one thing that is guaranteed, there will be change. If an organization wants to stay current, relevant, then change is inevitable. It is crucial for organizations to be able to adapt and grow.
Unfortunately, most organizations don’t know how to prepare their employees for change or how to handle change management initiatives. There will be those who don’t want change.
You've heard the sayings, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” and the famous, “We’ve always done it like this…” Many people are resistant to change because like staying in their comfort zone.
When change management is handled poorly, it leads to decreased employee morale and a mistrust of leadership. So, how can you avoid problems and ensure your change management process goes smoothly?
Follow these basic guidelines for the most critical steps to change management.
Top 3 Most Critical Steps To Change Management
- Prepare for change. Identify the change that will happen and understand the impact it will have on the employees. It is critical to have top-level management supporting the initiative. It helps to communicate the new reality to the employees so they will be ready and understand how things will be different when the change has been implemented. People will generally get onboard with the 'what' when they understand the 'why'.
- Manage the change. It is important to communicate early and often. Understand how the change will affect the employees and involve them in the change management process for buy-in and engagement. They will become your supporters and advocate for the change. Listen to those who are resistant to change. Don’t bargain or try to convince them, but listen and ask questions to understand their perspective. If they have this opinion, then others will too. This gives you an opportunity to identify any barriers to the success of the change which will increase the odds of making the change work.
- Reinforce change. Use positive reinforcement to reward desired behavior and results. Establish metrics and reward teams who meet the goals. Don’t forget to get feedback from surveys or meetings. Once issues are identified, address and fix the problems. Be patient as employees are navigating the learning curve and address those resistant to change.
Managing an organization through change can be challenging, but following these steps and having strong leadership will make this process easier. For additional reading, my colleague wrote an article with helpful guidance on "Wanting Change Vs. Willingness to Change" that may be helpful as you embark on your change management journey.