4 Ways to Inspire and Empower Employees to Effect Change

road sign indicating how to empower employees to effect change

Change in Today’s Economy
The best leaders know how to empower employees to effect change.  No business or leader can survive very long these days without the ability to anticipate and accommodate ever-changing external and internal influences.

Common External Influences of Change

  • Disruptive competitors and technologies
  • A vacillating marketplace for talent and solutions
  • Governmental regulations
  • Economic swings

Common Internal Influences of Change

  • Leadership changes
  • Shifts in strategy
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Reorganizations and restructures

You’d think by now that leaders would have learned how to handle organizational change well.  But the opposite is true.  The majority of change initiatives (up to 70% by most accounts) fail.

Why Is Organizational Change So Difficult?
After nearly three decades of change management consulting, we believe that change is difficult because companies continue to neglect the human factor.  Change leaders  get so involved with the mechanics of change management that they overlook the fact that successful change requires a human-centric approach.

Employees at the Center of Change
A human-centric approach puts those affected by change as the driving force of change.  To succeed at organizational transformation, you need stakeholder engagement, discretionary effort, wholehearted agreement, and committed willingness to go beyond the status quo.

4 Ways to Inspire and Empower Employees to Effect Change
Here is how to inspire and empower employees to effect change:

1. Establish a Meaningful Purpose
Give employees a powerful reason to support the change. They need a compelling answer to the question, “Why is change needed?”  Give them an emotional connection to the change that inspires them to greater commitment and effort.  How will the change make things better for employees, customers, stakeholders, and even the world in general?

2. Show That You Care
Change is disruptive and threatening to many. Be sure to act in ways that show understanding and compassion.  Regularly solicit employee input on how the change is affecting both those who stay and those who leave.  Do what you can to ease the transition of employees who need to find work elsewhere and support the emotional and professional needs of employees who must adapt to new roles and teams.

3. Create a Culture of Empowerment
Ensure that your workplace culture (how things get done in your organization on a day-to-day basis) is healthy and positive. Change is best effected when employees know what they are expected to do, how they are expected to behave and that they have a degree of autonomy that shows they are valued and trusted.

4. Model Strong Leadership
Leaders set the tone by articulating a vision, reinforcing strategic priorities, making sure the purpose of change is well understood, motivating employees to act in alignment with the change, and providing the necessary resources.

The Bottom Line
Keep those affected by change at the center of your change initiative.  They are the ones who will provide strength and vitality to your transformation.

To learn more about how to inspire and empower employees to effect change, download How to Successfully Recognize and Reward Organizational Change

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