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What are the Principles for Successful Organisational Change?

Learning & Development, Workplace Productivity, Business Articles

With executives predicting that the rate of organisational change is set to rise across all businesses, we take a look at the crucial principles that must be considered in organisational change processes.

Organisational change is an inevitability for businesses, whether it’s to respond to external market conditions or structural changes needed to improve efficiency. A report by the Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB) found that 75% of executives expect the pace of organisational change to increase, particularly in an era of less certainty and wider global changes such as Brexit. Organisational change can involve a change in business processes and job roles, the digitisation of some aspects of a company, changing the focus of a company’s goals – or all of these things.

By its very nature, organisational change can lead to uncertainty, waning loyalty and reduced productivity among staff if it isn’t managed effectively. As such, companies are realising the importance of having organisational change expertise and protocols in place, so that the effectiveness of a business is not hindered by change.

These are the key principles to incorporate into successful organisational change processes.

Make Employees Part of the Process

Organisational change requires companies to reflect on where they are and where they want to go. As a result, leaders need to continuously critically assess the business to see what changes need to be made. Broadening this to ensure all employees have a say in the direction a company is going in means they are part of the organisational change process from the beginning, giving them a stake in making change positive and successful. Identify particularly engaged employees from the beginning of the organisational change process to enlist their help as organisational change champions throughout the process.

Have a Little Patience

Organisational change doesn’t happen overnight, as it requires a change in culture and mindset as well as the practical workings of a business. When planning change, remember to build time into the process and opportunities for the new vision to be discussed and implemented. Creating a compelling and inspiring story around the future of the business – which the period of organisational change will lead to – helps gain buy-in.

Clear Communication

Employees are most likely to engage and feel positive about organisational change when there is clear communication and transparency about the process. As such, it’s crucial to build in multiple lines of communication about an organisational change process. This includes digitally such as via email and intranet systems, as well as plenty of in-person contact, from staff meetings to dedicated Q+A sessions.

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What About Me?

Even if employees agree with the direction of change an organisation must take, they inevitably wonder what it means for their job specifically. Tackling this question before it is even asked is key in the change management process – so think about the impact on every individual in a company, and have one-to-one conversations about it early on. Reassuring staff their skills are still crucial even though a company is changing helps them embrace rather than fear the process. Staff members will need to take responsibility for implementing some aspects of the organisational change, so early conversations also helps clarify what will be expected of them.

Change Management Training

Leading change management processes is an emerging and evolving field, so many employees may not have prior experience of the best way to lead and manage change. Offering training to key internal stakeholders in the change management process before change happens is a great way of staying one step ahead of the situation.

A Continuing Process

Organisational change is rarely one singular event, as employees will have to continue implementing new behaviours and responding to other changes over time. A key principle of organisational change management is therefore to align new ways of working into individuals’ objectives and development. Measuring the progress of staff on new objectives, and setting them goals to help implement change, enables colleagues get used to organisational change as being a normal part of the corporate process.

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Businesses succeed because of the people in them, and the same principle applies to organisational change. Focusing on these key principles helps people embrace rather than resist change in a corporate setting, leading to organisational change that leads to business success.

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