5 Tips to Better Engage People for Successful Change

5 Tips to Better Engage People for Successful Change
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The Basics of Organizational Change
The premise is straightforward.  You need to better engage people for successful change.  To get it right takes active involvement, transparency, and openness.

No one should undertake an organizational change initiative lightly. This is especially true for complex organizational change initiatives where the majority (up to 70% by most accounts) fail.  Why do they fail?

One of the main reasons is inadequate preparation on the part of senior leaders.  They have not gained enough understanding or spent enough time engaging their employees to get behind the initiative.  Too many employees are left on the shore with no compelling reason to dive in and pull the company in the new direction.

Why People Resist Change
People naturally resist change. They accept the current situation and they are comfortable with that familiarity. In general, we feel fear and anxiety about the unknown, as well as uncertainty about whether the future will be an improvement over the status quo.

Overcoming Resistance
Change management consulting experts know that the key to successful change is getting stakeholders involved early on and earning their support.   The challenge then becomes how to engage stakeholders which should include employees, customers, partners, and suppliers.

Five Tips to Better Engage People for Successful Change

  1. Find a Meaningful Shared Purpose
    Work together to define common goals and a compelling vision for change of the future benefits of the change.

    Until employees understand the business case for change, buy into the urgency for change, and can articulate what’s in it for them, it will be hard to persuade them that the change is in their best interests.

  2. Actively Include Employees at the Outset
    If employees are actively involved in the change design and planning from the beginning, they will have a sense of ownership and skin in the game.

    Too many leaders leave employees out of the early change strategy and change planning sessions and are surprised that, when they inform the workforce of desired changes, there is not universal support.

  3. Craft the Solution
    With the strategic vision in mind and the employees at the table, put together the steps required to implement the change.

    Actively solicit the input of front-line workers so you can consider carefully the effects of each step, prioritize resources, and sequence the work in a coordinated fashion.  Be sure to establish some key principles and boundaries that will guide everyone going forward.

  4. Provide Forums to Air Concerns
    You will need to proactively seek feedback from employees as you begin the execution phase. Whether you conduct a survey, have one-on-one conversations with key individuals, or set up team meetings where ideas and questions are encouraged, find a way that works in your culture to actively listen to your key constituents.
  5. Purposefully Solicit, Listen to, and Deal with Contrary Thinking
    While many employees will probably agree with the way things are unfolding, you really need to listen to those who question what’s happening.

    Be open to criticism so you can evaluate whether you need to tweak the plan or explain what is realistic and feasible.

The Bottom Line
Put people most affected by change at the center of your organizational change efforts.  They are the ones who can ensure your change initiative is truly successful.

To learn more about how to better engage people for successful change, download 5 Research-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership to Get Right

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