“Are you tying things together, so they feel like they are part of something bigger, and that they are operating in a seamless environment — not just a bunch of disconnected, disparate changes?”
Grant Thornton Business Change Enablement Principal Sondra Leibner said that leaders need to establish transparent communication, both to and from employees. Leaders also need to understand how well their organizations are managed, and appreciate the fact that employees have more choice than ever in where and how they work.
“People leave managers. They don’t leave jobs,” Leibner said.
Leibner said that engagement and trust-building through communication and transparency can help soften the impacts of constant change, even encouraging employees to help drive change and become part of an organizational team.
“Are you tying things together, so they feel like they are part of something bigger, and that they are operating in a seamless environment — not just a bunch of disconnected, disparate changes?” Leibner asked.
When employees feel informed and engaged, they are more likely to take ownership of change and help to drive its success. Change leaders should help ensure that organizational communications are helping to foster engagement.
Companies can have far greater success with change when they link it to the organization’s strategy and mission. When that happens, change becomes a vehicle to reinforce workplace culture. If changes are inconsistent with the mission and the company’s identity, however, people sense an immediate disconnect.
Make time to make connections
Change leaders are in a unique position, both impacted by change and helping others navigate it, Morelli said. That makes it important to give leaders time to go through their own change process, fully understanding changes so they can be the best leaders possible and help others grasp the importance. Change leadership requires employees to understand a change and recognize its value. If leaders don’t grasp the value, neither will their employees.
Leaders and others with influence need to help employees see the link between strategy and change. Since change takes time, leaders must build in time to have the conversations needed to communicate transparently and authentically. Leaders need to be empathetic and seek to understand employee perspective and bake in opportunities for feedback, while communicating that not changing is unacceptable.
An investment in change management has been shown to drive solution adoption and yield other long-term rewards. “The more success an organization has in one change, the better chance that you will have success for the next change,” said Morelli. “It’s really important to think about what we are doing to focus on our people, our leaders and our customers during these times of change.”