9 Jul 2021
Communication is the key to change
Making changes of any kind within your organisation, be it to values, processes, practices or attitudes, can be daunting. When that change takes place alongside plans to update business systems it is, without doubt, a massive challenge. But, it is a challenge that will deliver opportunity to meet digital transformation ambitions and introduce systems that are up to the task, scalable and interface more effectively. Change can be a large-scale undertaking that takes careful strategy and planning.
Take time to evaluate why there is a need for change and then establish what is achievable in the short and long term. Do not attempt to rush the change; ensure the entire organisation understands why there is a need and, importantly, how it affects them. Plan ahead and, if necessary, invest in the resources that are required to facilitate and support the changes.
Getting your entire staff on board with change can be overwhelming, so start at the top with the attitudes, values and behaviours of senior leaders and work down. Authenticity, belief and commitment from the top will be critical to the success of any programme for change. After all, action speaks louder than words. Ensure that you articulate a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Make sure staff understand why there is a need for change and how they can support it. A clearly articulated vision will help to communicate the desired end result and how it will benefit the overall mission and purpose of the organisation. It will need to resonate with the individual employment experience – the “employee value proposition”.
A broad brush approach to some projects can be the only way, but don’t feel you have to change everything; if a process works effectively then retain it. Take small steps, measure the impact of the change, review and adjust the process as necessary. Listen to staff and learn from their reactions - good and bad. As with the implementation of a new business system, the “big bang” approach can be seen as a quick fix, but it soon loses momentum if staff are not fully trained or do not understand key elements. The system is seen as “not up to the job”, but that is often not the case. It is simply that the rush to implement may have seen a new system live in record time, but only one or two people actually know how to use it properly and this can quickly turn to disenchantment.
From a new software perspective, it is advisable to involve end users in the project from the outset. Introducing a new system to users not involved in the decision making process rarely gets a project off to a good start. Opinions on what is good (and bad) about current and potential new software will be vital and will help to ensure that objectives are met.
Change management is a great opportunity to start again, so invest your time and money wisely and use resources to their best effect.
- Plan ahead and establish what is achievable
- Understand what needs to change and why
- Ensure engagement from the top
- Establish a vision statement – but keep it simple
- Involve staff throughout – listen and learn
- Don’t rush to complete in months what may take years
- Take your time, but don’t lose momentum
- Build trust with your teams and let decisions be challenged
- Take any challenges on board and be prepared to review and adjust
- Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Article originally published on HR Grapevine July 2021.