How to Get Your Workforce Ready for Change

How to Get Your Workforce Ready for Change
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Is Your Workforce Ready for Change?
Don’t make organizational change any more challenging than it already is. Change management consulting experts know that most workers naturally feel resistance to change.  To make lasting change, find ways to prepare employees for change in order to reduce anxiety and to increase engagement.

Four Basics to Get Your Workforce Ready for Change
Based upon change management simulation data, here are four basics to get your workforce ready for change. No matter what the organizational change, leaders need to:

  1. Ensure Leadership Alignment
    Research by Bain found that senior leadership support is the number one change success factor by a hefty 2.5-to-1 margin. Once a thorough current state analysis has been completed, the first step is to ensure that the leadership team is aligned around the business case for change, the level of change urgency, the vision for change, and what the plan for successful change will look like. Without full leadership commitment, it is almost impossible to marshal the time, effort, and resources to see organizational change through.

    Is your leadership team really aligned on the desired changes?
  2. Actively Involve Others
    If you seek lasting organizational change — regardless of the scope — actively involve stakeholders to accelerate change early in the process.  Whenever possible, involve everyone affected by change in the effort to design and implement the new ways.  Listen carefully for their ideas on why it will work and why it might not.

    Include their input and feedback in your planning because, after all, execution is ultimately up to them. Yes, as change leaders you can inspire, plan, and oversee the effort, but it is your workforce that must do the day-to-day work of changing how they think, work, and behave.  When it comes to people, go slow to go fast.

    Are you involving others in the change planning and design processes early enough?
  3. Create Change Catalysts
    Also called Change Champions, we define Change Catalysts as employees who help to guide, navigate, and accelerate the “hearts and minds” side of change at work.  Change Catalysts proactively and visibly build the confidence, competence, support, and momentum of those affected by change.   Their success is based upon the success of people adopting the new ways.

    While all people managers play an important role at keeping their teams engaged and motivated during change, Change Catalysts are highly trained influencers who bring an extra level of support, expertise, and gravitas.

    Do you have enough committed Change Catalysts to help shift people in a new and necessary direction?
  4. Communicate the What, the Why, and the How to the Frontline Workforce
    Employees consistently report that they’re not getting the information they want or need during times of change.  We know from change communication best practices that too many change communications focus on the “What” and never fully explain “Why” decisions are being made. Your workforce will be far more ready and receptive to change if they understand and appreciate the rationale behind it.

    Keep it simple and focused on what matters most to your audience.  Then honestly answer their questions about change and be clear how it will impact them, their team, and the organization as whole.

    Are your leaders prepped to handle change communication with skill and understanding?

The Bottom Line
Our organizational alignment research found that the highest performing businesses have leaders and employees who are highly responsive to identifying and making the changes required to stay competitive. Yet McKinsey reports that nearly three-quarters of organizational change efforts fail. Put your company on the right side of those statistics by getting your workforce thoroughly ready for change.

To learn more about how to get your workforce ready for change, download How to Mobilize, Design and Transform Your Change Initiative

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