Change is an integral aspect of every organization — especially in today’s volatile environment. But managing change is challenging. That’s why it sometimes helps to rely on change management specialists for guidance or support. But when? It depends on the situation.
To better understand how leaders tackle change successfully, we asked business professionals to tell us how they approach this process. Nine people shared their recommendations. And despite their diverse experiences, some common themes emerged:
- Help Employees Adjust
- Include Employees in Decisions
- Facilitate a Culture Shift
- Encourage Two-Way Communication
- Gamify Change Initiatives
- Deliver Readiness Bootcamps
- Involve Everyone in Training Curricula Updates
- Build Skills for Collective Change
- Keep Remote Teams in the Loop
To learn more about when and how your organization could benefit from these change management methods, read the full responses below…
9 Ways to Lead Change Management
1. Help Employees Adjust
Our direct managers’ plates are already full, so they don’t have enough time and energy to communicate about every change and seek continuous feedback from across their teams. That’s why we rely on dedicated change managers. They ensure that employees get the kind of support they need throughout any change process, and anyone with a question or idea has access to the right forum where they can speak their mind.
Sometimes, employees prefer to discuss these issues with change management specialists, especially if they’re worried about overloading their direct manager with more work. But the change management team is always available as an employee resource.
Their mission is to ensure a seamless adjustment — whether that includes taking ample time to listen to employee concerns, or to address suggestions that might make the implementation process better.
2. Include Employees in Decisions
Our organization isn’t big enough to require a change management team, so whenever a significant change is required, it’s imperative that we include employees in the process. Change can be daunting, stressful and scary, so it’s essential to mitigate any negative impacts, if possible.
Even if you’re just starting to consider a change, employee input is invaluable. People are much more likely to get onboard with new initiatives if they feel a sense of agency. Plus, they often have interesting insights and ideas to contribute.
And when you do move forward, respecting employees’ feelings and involving them in decision-making means you’ll have a smoother journey. Offering opportunities throughout the process to ask questions, raise objections and make suggestions is crucial.
These actions are not just about supporting change. They also reflect a spirit of inclusion. By seeking input and responding to ideas, you demonstrate that your employees are respected and valued, and they matter to your organization. Working together towards a shared vision and collective responsibility reinforces a sense of teamwork and helps employees feel more in control. This encourages engagement and helps employees embrace change.
3. Facilitate a Culture Shift
Our organization is tiny, so we do not have a dedicated change management team. However, we do have a culture committee composed of members from each department, and this group often helps navigate organizational change.
These representatives can act as liaisons and report on general workforce sentiments that might otherwise go unheard for fear of upsetting management. Members can also help their departments understand the reasoning behind a change decision and model a positive example of embracing and adapting to that decision.
A large part of change management is a cultural shift. So, the culture committee can help employees feel like they’re part of the process and help them view change as an evolution of company culture, rather than abandonment of the status quo.
4. Encourage Two-Way Communication
We have a dedicated change management team at Brosix. That’s because change is an inevitable part of any business, and being prepared for it is crucial. One way we handle change is by empowering employees through communication. But change management communication involves more than just sending out a one-time email notice. It requires ongoing interaction with employees. And that demands dedication, clarity and consistency.
Effective two-way communication techniques like surveys, focus groups and informal feedback gathering give employees a voice in change-related decisions. When leaders involve their team in this process, people feel heard and appreciated. And when people feel valued, they’re more likely to welcome change and participate in making it happen.
Proactive two-way communication has other benefits, as well. Leaders can identify and resolve issues that are likely to cause resistance. And the organization can potentially avoid obstacles and pitfalls before they become a problem.
5. Gamify Change Initiatives
At TechAhead, we have a dedicated change management team that is highly skilled in collaboration, communication and critical thinking. This team analyzes the potential risks and challenges that come with change and develops effective strategies to mitigate them.
To make the change process more engaging, accessible and effective, we use a unique “Gamification of Change Management” approach. Specifically, we’ve developed a game-based change journey that rewards employees with points and badges for completing challenges such as attending training sessions, participating in feedback surveys and collaborating with team members.
We also offer a “Change Management Cafe,” where we invite stakeholders to openly discuss their concerns, suggestions and feedback about changes we’re planning or implementing. This helps create a culture of transparency and collaboration, which makes the entire change process more inclusive.
6. Deliver Readiness Bootcamps
Throughout my career, I have seen many organizations struggle with change management. However, my current employer has implemented highly effective “change boot camps” for employees.
These boot camps are training sessions that focus on teaching people how to accept change and move through it with a positive mindset. They also receive resources and tools to make necessary transitions smoother.
With this structured approach to developing employee change capabilities, our organization is better prepared to handle change more efficiently, while maintaining morale, and ultimately achieving success in the transformational process.
7. Involve Everyone in Training Curriculum Updates
The healthcare industry is a fast-paced, stressful environment where staying on top of constant change is critical. We don’t have a dedicated change management team, but we do have medical educators whose roles include change management. This comes into play for us when we introduce a new curriculum for medical certifications we offer.
Every two years, we need to incorporate best practice updates into our certification programs for medical skills such as CPR and BLS (Basic Life Support). It is our education team’s job to make sure our instructors and clients (nurses and healthcare workers) are up-to-speed with all these curriculum adjustments.
Because this change process focuses on our curriculum, it’s a business priority. That’s why it’s a central part of our education team’s ongoing responsibilities, rather than a standalone activity.
8. Build Skills for Collective Change
Change management is central to our organization’s mission. We educate others about the power of facilitation in change management and we equip them with tools to transform the process by replacing traditional methods with facilitation.
Within our organization, we embrace the same philosophy. Rather than relying on a dedicated change management team, we focus on equipping individuals across the organization with facilitation skills to address change collectively.
By engaging stakeholders and empowering them to actively participate in the process, we are fostering a culture of change, adaptability and resilience. Ultimately, this means we can achieve change outcomes that are more enduring and effective.
9. Keep Remote Teams in the Loop
We don’t have a dedicated change management team because our organization is a relatively small remote team. My partner and I oversee necessary changes. Currently, we’re focused on work to be done so we can boost our sales and generate business results.
However, for change management, we keep our employees in the loop by conducting frequent video calls and arranging online meetings so we can communicate our expectations and discuss any questions people may have.
We ensure that employees are satisfied with the volume and nature of their work, so no one feels overloaded. We also consider their feedback about the company’s operations, so we can incorporate changes they will appreciate and feel comfortable adopting.