Written By: Pamela Erskine
Change occurs every day in the workplace. Businesses must grow and change to stay competitive. Sometimes it happens without any fanfare but other times, it is a real struggle. Why are some changes easy while others are a challenge? A number of potential factors can affect the success of change in the workplace but the staff acceptance of change is the number one reason that projects fail. Roughly 70% of technology projects fail due to people. It is a staggering number.
What can your organization do to improve the odds of success?
1.) Define and plan for the behavior changes necessary for success. Without a true understanding of what behavior changes are necessary, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Any actions taken to support the change won’t achieve the intended outcome. How are people affected by the change? What changes should they make to support the outcome?
2.) Engage those affected by the change in developing the actual solution. I’m not referring to engaging Supervisors or Managers. Involve the people on the frontline. They know the current strengths and shortcomings. With the right facilitation and support, they can come up with some amazing solutions. Involving them will help to facilitate ownership of the changes and reduce difficulties with change adoption.
3.) Communicate – Communicate – Communicate. Everybody is busy and finding the time to communicate about projects can be tough but it is worth the extra effort. Fear and uncertainty are created when people don’t know what is going on. People need to understand what the change means to them and the company. It is more than just sending a corporate communication about the project purpose and schedule. Why is the change occurring? What is the value of making the change? What happens if the change does not occur? Be as transparent as possible regarding what is occurring and why.
4.) Create an environment where people can be successful. Ensure that documentation is available and training occurs so those impacted by the change can effectively do their jobs. Set up a support system which includes key contacts so people know where to go when they have questions.
5.) Reinforce accountability for the desired outcome by setting new goals and objectives for those affected by the change. Incorporate them into the review process. Include goals around continuous improvement relating to the change.
6.) Measure the outcome of the change. Compare baseline metrics to the outcome after the change occurred. Publicize the metrics whether they are good or bad. If the metrics are not as expected, ask those affected how to improve. If the metrics prove success, publicly acknowledge it. Continue to measure and publicize metrics until the changes are rooted in the organization.
Change in the workplace isn’t easy but you can improve the odds of success. It just takes some planning and some additional time to execute tasks associated with change acceptance. Considering the importance of people in the success of your initiative, isn’t it worth the investment?