By Contributing Author
More and more emphasis is being put on the mental state and wellbeing of employees nowadays, and we can only expect this focus to increase as the demographics of the marketplace are, slowly but surely, shifting in their favour. There’s also more pressure on businesses of all sizes to foster positive change in their organisation, and in the way they interact with the world around them.
This is no longer a question of branding, and consumers are voting with their money, since they have more alternatives and power than ever. So, if you truly want to appeal to this new wave of customer, you’ll have to be serious about change, and know how to implement it the right way in your organisation. Here are a few ways businesses can become agents of change, and encourage their employees to do the same.
Encourage Learning and Development and Hire in House
One of the first forms of change that could help your employees is to implement a learning and development programme. According to a recent study, 2 out of every 3 employees leave their position because they weren’t offered any chances for development.
What you could do is encourage continuous education by covering part of their tuition. You could offer the opportunity to some of your employees who’d like to move up in rank, and you could specify the type of programmes you will sponsor. For instance, allowing them to get something like a business management degree could help them fill all sorts of positions in your organisation. And the best part is that these courses can be taken completely online these days.
Institutions like Aston University have online programmes that could help them to fill many jobs with a business management degree, like audit manager, HR manager, or engagement manager for instance. These are all crucial positions in any organisation, and being able to pool talent in house will not only allow you to get a clearer profile on your candidates, but will increase the chances of them being loyal to your organisation.
Identify Needs for Change
Some people just want to change for the sake of it, but you have to identify specific areas that are in real need of change, or you’ll have difficulty justifying it and rallying your troops. All businesses need to change and adapt as some point. New market realities, technologies, and marketplace trends are all things organisations have to pay attention to, and act upon.
But the challenge is knowing what are the right reasons, right areas, and right time for change. All change comports an element of risk, but it can be taken out by focusing on the right areas. All changes should either benefit your current clientele, help you expand it, or improve company culture, work environment, and processes.
Focus on Actual Behaviour
You have to do more than simply offer lip service, and say that you want to foster change if you want your strategy to be effective. You have to identify concrete and clear behaviours you want to see in your workforce and have a clear plan if you want real change to take place within your organisation.
Whether your goal is for your workplace to be more eco-friendly, encourage wellness and engagement, or better teamwork and cooperation, it has to go beyond expressing vague values. You need to have a clear roadmap of objectives and follow through so that your employees can actually see change in action.
Communicate Your Plans Clearly
You can’t expect to bring change within your organisation and think that everyone will just fall in line without asking any questions. People may have questions and concerns about the change, and you have to make sure that you communicate clearly with them and are ready to answer their queries.
People will want to ask why change was needed in the first place, and what was wrong with the old way of doing things. They’ll also need some sort of timetable. If faced with uncertainty, they will start creating their own theories about the change, and might speculate on the company’s state of affairs, and that is the last thing you want.
You also have to be ready to go at the personal level. People in your organisation will want to know what’s in it for them, and if the change might actually end up threatening their positions. These are very real concerns, and you’ll have to meet them head on. Otherwise, you might be met with resistance. Give people a private or public forum where they can get their concerns across, and address them the best way you can in full transparency to show that you actually care.
Sell the Change
You also have to show that you’re fully dedicated to change, and that it’s for the greater good of the whole organisation. You first have to make sure that upper management is fully on board. If they aren’t, then it will surely end in dissention.
People will also ask if the changes are worth it and getting results. If your management team was on board and carried on the procedures necessary, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase any tangible change and improvement in the organisation. You have to be able to show early wins if you want people to realise the value of change, and continue in the same direction. It’ll be a challenge if you have nothing to show for it after a while, so if the change initiative isn’t bearing any fruit, you should consider going back to the drawing table.
Humans are creatures of habit, and change is not always welcomed by everyone. This is why you have to be ready to face some pushback. However, with clear objectives, a plan, and the support of your management team, you’ll increase the chances of the transition to go more smoothly. And by making sure that this change is benefiting your workforce as a whole, you’ll also transform your employees into advocates of change themselves.