Change is good – here’s how to get everyone on board

We all know that change is inevitable, but the pace of change has accelerated significantly in the past few years. ICSC explains how change can be effectively managed and communicated to benefit your organisation.

Change management – simply put – is about strategically bridging the gap between the “as is” scenario and the desired future scenario. However, the process is often far from simple due to resistance to change from various sectors. Employees may either fear change, or not understand why it is important. Clients and other external parties will also need reassurance that change will not have a detrimental effect on the products and services that they have become accustomsed to. It is therefore evident that change must be managed very carefully and strategically.

So, what is the goal when managing change? The ideal change management strategy creates emotional buy-in from your employees and equips them to lead the change process. That’s why, at ICSC, we focus strongly on the emotional and intellectual side of the implementation of change. We ask questions like “Why is this change important?”, “How will you measure the success of this change?” and “How will we encourage employees to implement change?”. Implenting a strategically planned approach that has a strong emotive appeal will ensure that you reach employees and other stakeholders on an individual level.

In our view, managing change is about managing people. People need to be equipped for change, people will help the business prepare for change, people will lead the change and, finally, people will own the change. When people are intimately involved in change from the outset, there is far less resistance to change and a very high likelihood of an effective change process.

When working with people who are facing change, it is critical to recognise that change strikes at the core of the three most powerful drivers of work behaviour, namely a person’s sense of purpose, his or her identity, and their mastery, defined as one’s ability to manage oneself and the environment effectively. The role of change leaders in an organisation is to encourage people to align their purpose, identity and mastery with the necessary organisational changes. Change leaders should create a safe environment for these types of questions and discussions to take place.

Change is a cyclical process. The ICSC change management framework consists of the following stages, which can be tailored to your requirements:

  • Stage 1 – prepare for change: This stage includes inspiring those involved via a sound business case for change, involving stakeholders via workshops and interviews, and installing change via a change management blueprint with detailed actions and timelines.
  • Stage 2 – nourish change: Change must be nourished by aligning it with existing business strategies and then advocating for the change via various forms of communication. It is also essential to create space for the approval of change via employee internalisation and early adopters.
  • Stage 3 – implement change and adapt: As soon as change is implemented, the impact thereof must be assessed within core emerging themes. Engagement with stakeholders will highlight areas that must be adapted so that change can be effectively recycled at a later stage.
  • Stage 4 – reinforce change: The reinforcement of change is attained by analysing adoption rates, recognising and rewarding change leaders and, finally, embedding change into the systems, processes and work culture of the future.

 

Communicating the change

Communication should be the one constant in a time of change – a regular, foreseeable and supportive touchpoint for employees. Good communication during a time of change will foster employee engagement and strengthen your corporate culture. The truth is, nothing can change optimally unless change is communicated in the right way.

A sound change communication strategy should create awareness of change, engage employees via involvement and buy-in, promote change leaders within your organisation, and, lastly, gauge employees’ response to change via surveys or feedback sessions.

ICSC’s team of change management and communication experts can help you to align people and processes in a manner which fosters sustainable short-term and long-term change. Get in touch with us today to find out more: (021) 976 1918, communicate@icsc.co.za, icsc.co.za