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The Hearts And Minds Approach To Change Management – How To Get It Right

Keeping your workforce happy, productive, and loyal is becoming more complex – so what should you do to ensure you aren’t caught out?

Employee/employer relations are inevitably becoming frayed, and the last year has undoubtedly not helped. The coronavirus has not helped with feelings of job insecurity.

Even for those with secure positions, there could be overworking or added stress outside of their work environment that causes problems, anxiety, and issues in their working life.

No longer can many of us expect a job for life or the security of a position that provides us with a happy working life until we are ready to retire.

Economic downturns, technology changes, and a more fluid job market have seen an increase in job-hopping becoming commonplace. No longer does a workforce feel set for life and settled in the same way we hoped to achieve years ago.

Why Has it Gone Wrong?

Changing workforce shapes have seen a hollowing out of middle management. These are the layers of a business that were there to bridge the communication gap between top-line managers, business owners, and the employees on the ground.

This has led to even more difficulties for organizations seeking to bring about change.

Vital communication gaps are appearing which means employees are more likely to resist change. Yet, they may do so passively as their voice often goes unheard where it matters. It can take just a tiny percentage of the employees to undermine efforts.

However, this negativity could spread quickly throughout the organization to disrupt any change management plans.

It is no longer accepted that a leader can mandatorily impose a change and expect success without ensuring that the views and feelings of the workforce are taken into consideration.

So many change management efforts fail, costing valuable time and resources because this isn’t considered.

How to Get It Right

Organizations must see the value in investing both time and effort to change these wavering mindsets. They must also support all employees to know the importance (and the value) of change.

Change is now a part of a forward-thinking culture that we will only win if we have support and an ambition to make it happen.

The critical building blocks to successful change are still as relevant today as they have always been. Yet, leaders and change management consultants must adapt their approaches and expectations to align with this new workforce style.

We must realize the value of features such as technology and the changing digital landscape that are key features in the changing context.

We are now facing a generation of millennial employees with different expectations and more fluidity and agility in their commitment to a job and employer, which has also impacted and perhaps begun to reflect in our older working generations.

Get the Right Team on the Job

Changes that succeed now will likely require a faster pace, more communication, and more buy-in to achieve.

Having an armory of strategy, skill, and desire before you embark on the process will help your chances of carrying out any change on budget and within cost, without a complete upset to productivity and staffing.

Equip your leaders or hire personnel with vital skills such as project management courses designed to foster creative solutions and collaborations that plan for a project lifecycle delivering on small objectives as part of the greater need for change.

As well as concentrating on the change plan, you will also benefit from someone who knows how to handle the human element of the change as part of a modern transformation strategy.

This could include employing change management consultants – or businesses could work by identifying and investing time in a suitable candidate with change management training.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Technological advancement may be the reason for your desired change, so why not use what is available to assist you in the process of securing a successful transformation.

Communication is now more critical than ever, and it has to be a two-way process. Buy-in is far more achievable if those involved feel valued, express their feelings, and be heard.

Digital communications now make it possible to tailor messages more readily, to bring the need for change in a more personal way directly to those affected. We have become accustomed to personalized communications in other areas of our lives.

Using them as part of a major change initiative can help break down some of the instant distaste for change that a memo has been passed around for eternity before it reaches you.

The more personal you target people, the more options you give for opinions to be expressed constructively, such as through online polls and surveys, the more you will limit the need for views to be voiced destructively elsewhere.

Technology is also an ideal way to monitor progress, measure success and failure, hold individuals accountable, and expose activity levels. It can also assist you with gauging your organization’s feelings and outlook.

This could enable a quicker assessment of the correlations between expectation and reality. In turn, this could help to correct any misalignments in understanding between you, your management, and the workforce.

Digital tools now offer a way to instill a sense of competence and stimulate the efforts of teams and individuals by highlighting success stories, achievements and showing how increased effort is rewarded.

Social media and networking tools can help you identify supporters. It could also help you recognize those who influence others and who could be the communicators and role models for your desired outcomes.

New Challenges and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence now plays a significant role in the human element of change management, which is often neglected.

Understanding your own heart and mind will allow you to communicate and connect with others impacted by the change.

The ability to overcome challenges and defuse difficult situations is now expected during the change management process. People are naturally resistant to change.

As we mentioned previously, the new challenges presented by millennials and their impact on the workplace mentality are substantial and cannot be ignored.

They say they are hyper-connected globally, open to persuasion from collective voices, and expect attention almost instantly.

A generic story no longer cuts it to bring the critical support and commitment to change required to deliver it successfully. They are more ready to move on if they don’t get what they feel they deserve.

Your future chances for change success rely on a more hearts and minds approach to your entire workforce if you want to drive change successfully.

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