managemnet company strategy managemanet Getting Employee Buy-In for Organizational Change

Getting Employee Buy-In for Organizational Change

Getting Employee Buy-In for Organizational Change post thumbnail image

Much of the advice about building internal support for organizational change repeats platitudes, reminds leaders to communicate the reasons for change, or even gets excited about the change. or itself. But having worked with hundreds of companies undergoing organizational change I know that this approach is not enough. Indeed, RESEARCH REVEALS shows, that this narrow approach often results in a wave of employee cynicism, doubt, mistrust, and negativity, which can relegate change efforts to a slow and painful death.

What many leaders don’t realize is that, while a certain level of reluctance to change is natural, getting ahead of it from the start is the only way to combat it. But how?

The most successful organizations I have worked with have done this by creating a culture of accepting change, before they even plan to introduce any changes. They do this by addressing six areas of culture: legitimacy, ownership, affiliation, achievement, authenticity, and impartiality. Here’s how it works.

Legitimacy: Involve your influencers in organizational change

When introducing change, organizations often rely on their leadership teams, overlooking individuals who may not have leadership titles but are important influencers of company culture.

Whether they are middle managers, key sales personnel, or even the office receptionist, these people can make-or-break your plan. Why? Because unlike traditional leadership roles, these informal influencers have more power to shape the acceptance of organizational change, often through influence, intelligence, networking ability, or simply respect. they hold within the ranks of the company.

Bringing in influencers early in the change process will not only build trust throughout the organization through trusted but informal leaders, but will also build a foundation for change rooted in trusted voices.

Ownership: Give everyone a table stake

I’ll say it straight: an open mic at a town hall meeting after you’ve decided what to do does not equal input. In addition, your employees probably know that you do not take their suggestions seriously. Holding these meetings will likely harm your change initiative.

Research, however, shows when people have the actual will to shape a change, they are more likely to accept it. Instead of unidirectional town halls, create a series of small interactive discussions where departments can determine potential roadblocks and explain how change can be viable for their area of ​​responsibility. This gives them the means to adapt and adapt the implementation to suit their own unique circumstances, conditions, and constraints.

Relevance: Focus on latent change

Organizations have two types of change: one that they champion now, and the other on the perpetual back burner, less practical, complex, or political to solve. While it may feel counter-intuitive, joining this second group may be the easiest way to increase buy-in for the first.

If a current change effort can be tied to other changes that are damaging and never addressed, you’re in for a win. By integrating the components of today’s identified change needs, it makes change seem essential and important, rather than just extra work added to the pile. In addition, it reinforces that leadership recognizes the constant challenges of the front line, and does not simply brush them under the rug.

Achieve: Make a series of micro-changes

The flip side of the above advice is making sure your change is achievable. Often, change can seem insurmountable because of its perceived magnitude. For example, an IT department may have an overly complex and interconnected technology infrastructure, limiting their ability to see change as anything other than disruptive, incremental, or even catastrophic.

A useful approach, in many cases, is to break down change efforts into a series of micro-changes. Any segmentation method that makes change more digestible, achievable, and manageable will help reduce resistance by making progress achievable in the short term, while building a sense of belonging. of success for the long term.

Authenticity: Embodying behaviors that support change

Logos, posters, stickers, t-shirts, and other swag — all of this is supposed to be fodder for building buy-in and excitement. But like a dog whistle, people know what it signals and are willing to wait until the initial excitement wears off and things return to the status quo.

Instead of covering the change with superficial gifts, present through action what the change consists of. For example, if a change focus is to “give more back to our community,” translate this into direct behavior, from paid volunteer time to matching employee donations. By providing behavioral descriptions of what the change represents, it changes from something that is stated to something that is acted upon.

Impartiality: Building a neutral change facilitator

Finally, prepare for conflict. If the change task is handled only by the CEO or C-Suite leadership, individual concerns and questions are passed on to direct supervisors. Then, when conflicts arise between departments, the teams jockey to get their opinion or perspective blessed by the other, regardless of whether it is beneficial to the larger change or not.

Bringing in a third party helps neutralize office politics, posturing, and infighting. Serving as part moderator, part engagement manager, and part counselor, they are there to unbiased decisions and eliminate favoritism. This can be a trusted consultant or veteran industry expert, but preferably someone from outside the organization.

What happens when employees buy in to change

Although change is not easy, how leaders approach it makes a significant difference in whether it is accepted or rejected. By responding to the context of buying-in the organization, it will be easier to move past resistance and stagnation, because your path forward will be shaped by facts rather than banalities. Having employees buy in to change not only makes implementation easier, but creates a lasting and reciprocal relationship that pays eternal dividends. Without it, future endeavors will require repeating it all over again, perpetuating the cycle of resistance. Remember, trust takes months to build and seconds to break.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post