Change is going to come, so prepare your people for it
There’s no shortage of surveys that will tell leaders how the majority of change programmes fail. At PUSH, we think the best indication of measuring the success of your own programmes is to look at your people. Are they happy? Are they healthy? Or has absenteeism increased since you implemented the change?
The digital age means that many organisations are embarking on major digital transformation programmes that in some cases are based on entirely new business models and ways of working. This brings radical change to the structure of the workforce and how people work. Employees, however, are frequently not consulted in the change and can end up feeling it has been foisted on them. They become demotivated and quickly disengage with their role.
Change is inevitable at some point during an organisation’s lifecycle, whether it be because of digital transformation or a merger or acquisition. They were wise words indeed, when David E Morrison wrote that “For leaders to help people change, they do not need to understand change – they need to understand people”. Sadly, many leaders don’t.
If implemented properly, change is not a bad thing and at the same time as making the organisation more profitable and efficient, can make working life better and more interesting for its employees. Technology in particular can help to remove the mundane and routine from a person’s job and make their work-life more interesting.
New technology can give them more space and time to be creative and offers more autonomy, which will appeal to most people. In turn this will make them more motivated and innovative.
PUSH supported media company Yahoo when it merged with AOL in 2017 to form the company, Oath. The brief was to provide a programme that focused on building the necessary resilience required, creating a growth mind set while employees continued to operate productively throughout a six-month period, leading up to the Verizon deal close.
The Yahoo THRIVE multi-discipline programme was tailored precisely for the Yahoo team and built entirely on the findings from it’s in-depth audit. Its aim was to give individuals the skills and energy needed to recharge and perform at the highest level.
Initially running as a six-month programme in London, it was soon extended to 12 months and rolled out in Munich, Dublin and Paris. It featured over 300 talks, workshops and one-to-one sessions.
We ensured that the whole of the Yahoo team was emotionally and mentally prepared for the forthcoming sale and that they were strong enough to continue delivering in their roles throughout this challenging period, enabling the business to outperform expectations.
One team member commented: ‘Whilst we still did not know what was coming our way, we felt prepared for it, whatever that might be’.
Yahoo THRIVE enabled the Yahoo team to maintain their energy and achieve sales targets throughout the Verizon deal close period.
In Philosophies of Organizational Change, authors Smith and Graetz point out that an individual experience of change is not just a part of the change management process, but it is the most important component of it. All leaders should have this top-of-mind during any period of change.
The companies that are best able to communicate and effect change are modern thinking companies that have flatter structures, are less hierarchical and have more collaborative cultures. They are more like organisms and are adept at using adaptive and contingent systems. They also have a natural tendency to involve employees in what is happening at the organisation in the same way a start-up would. They are flexible, agile and used to change so they understand the importance of making their people central to it.
Those companies that retain traditional hierarchies and purely focus on process and systems when effecting change are most likely to fail and lose a huge amount of goodwill from the workforce which they may never get back.
The old adage claims that no-one likes change. At PUSH we challenge that notion since the right kind of change, implemented well, can benefit everyone and make the organisation and its people happier and healthier. Helping individuals to overcome limiting thoughts or behaviours removes the fear factor from change. This will ensure that they remain productive and performing well, even if they feel challenged or stressed by what’s going on around them. In short, the key is to help people become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
How are you supporting your employees during times of change? What effects of change are you seeing on your team? Is digital transformation affecting the wellness of your staff? Get in touch to find out how we can supprot you and your workforce during times of transition.