21 Jun 2022
Communication is the key to change
Making a change to values, business process or practice, can be a daunting task for any organisation. And, when proposed changes are alongside plans to update business systems it is challenging for all involved. However, the challenge can present opportunities to meet digital transformation ambitions and introduce systems that are up to the task, scalable and more efficient.
Change can be a large-scale undertaking that takes careful strategy and planning. Always evaluate why (and if) there is a need for change and then establish what is achievable in both the short and the long term. Do not attempt to rush change; ensure the entire organisation understands the need and importantly, how it affects them. Plan and, where 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 success. After all, actions speak 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 result and how it will benefit the overall mission and purpose of your 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 - the good and the bad. As with the implementation of a new business system, a “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 new system is viewed as not being “up to the job”, but that is often not the case. It is simply that the speed of implementation may have seen a new system live in record time, but only a couple of people know how to use it properly and this can quickly turn the congratulations to commiserations.
From a new software perspective, it is advisable to involve end users in the project from the outset. Introducing a new system to users that were not involved in the decision-making process does not get the project off to a good start. Opinions (positive and negative) about the current and any potential new software will be vital to help ensure that objectives are met, and the project team is engaged.
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 June 2022.