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From my experience there are 5 proven ways that organisations can improve the level of engagement employees have with change. These changes may relate to organisational restructures, new strategy, the implementation of new IT systems, mergers or acquisitions, and is not limited to these change situations. The following are attributes of successful change:

1 Process changes behaviour

2 Leadership Driven

3 Focus on the Why not the what

4 Communicate the tangible desired business results

5 Measure, implement and reward

So let’s explore the first one, process changes behaviour. When designing an engagement program it is important to ask yourself these questions.

  • What process can you design that changes the way people behave so that they do things differently to support your change program
  • Processes should be designed as part of a complete change communication approach particularly to support the strategic reasons behind the change
  • They should involve leaders at all levels of the organisation and employees

So that brings us onto No 2 Change needs to be Leadership Driven.

  • Give leaders something to do, not just communicate, they should be driving a process and it must have activity that they review and provide feedback on
  • Make it relevant to their work area – they are busy with what they consider their “real job” so they need to see a direct business benefit, they don’t want to be seen a pseudo HR change manager
  • It is important to remember that you are an enabler of the change by designing processes for others to implement and drive the change, it is the leaders in the organisation that need to own the change process others it becomes a one off project not a sustained change

No 3 is to Focus on the Why not the what, why are we doing what we are doing, what’s the strategy behind the change

  • It is all about the strategy not the actual change
  • IT system changes for example, the change is not about the new system but why this particular system, what will it enable us to do, why is that important
  • Link the dots between corporate strategy and change implemented locally so that employees understand how the organisation’s vision is coming to life

No 4 was. Communicate the tangible desired business results

  • Give employees and leaders a tangible goal along the change implementation roadmap
  • Identify customer feedback, satisfaction scores, market share, retail sales and create a focus on what needs to improve and why and keep revisiting this
  • Allow employees the opportunity to contribute ideas to help organisations achieve their desired goals – frontline staff always in my experience know more about what would add value than a manager sitting in an office

The final way Pilot, measure, implement and reward

  • Once you have identified those goals you then pilot processes to measure the impact on achieving them
  • Those changes that produced significant results in the pilot should then be measured across the company
  • Recognise and reward employees for their contribution

Finally this approach to change then becomes business as usual, no matter what the strategy, employees and leaders know this is the way the organisation engages employees in the process of change.

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