17 Sep Invite your people on a Journey : The Process of Workplace Change
One thing that will always be inevitable is change. Workplace change is happening now, as seen through the evolution of technology, Artificial Intelligence, robotics & automation; the fact that for the first time we have more generations in the workforce than ever before and our ability to work anywhere at anytime, transforming our whole reason for “going” to a “place” to “work”. Change is full of uncertainty, but it is also full of brilliant promise and it’s in these times of uncertainty that a change solution can provide structure and uncover the opportunities that ensues when change is made, not when it just happens.
“Leaders don’t force people to follow – they invite them on a journey” – Charles S. Lauer
Creating a Vision for your journey
Understanding a business through a deep discovery process is crucial to creating a change transformation program. This understanding goes to the very grass roots of the company, exploring employees and their work at a task level.
Insights such as how employees perform their specific tasks, the tools they require to perform those tasks and how these tasks allow interaction with other employees and their physical environment, result in data. Data extracted from this exploration is the basis of analysing how an environment can be designed to drive enhanced employee performance and well-being. It’s with these results that information-based decisions can be made on the types of space required, furniture typologies and physical tools to enable them to perform at their peak.
As well as unveiling the core of an organisations operations, its equally as important to discover the bigger picture aspirations of the organisation, a wider or more holistivc vision, as to what they desire to achieve through the process. Aspirations can come in the form of new branding, improved or enhanced culture or complete organisational change.
Through this deep discovery phase a clear vision is developed, identifying the specific & tailored change approach required to meet the organisations aspirations.
Communication on the journey
A smooth transition relies on regular, direct communication to address questions, anxieties and concerns of employees.
By forming an overarching message or key theme, a tone will be established that can be further built on throughout the process. The big picture questions should be addressed now, such as; What? Why? How? And the all important one WIIFM, What’s In It For Me?
After communicating the overarching message, further messaging will reinforce this intention and get down to details – the HOW of change.
Frequent communication will squash fear and confusion in employees and develop trust within the process.
Communication doesn’t have to be dull and strictly informative, the tone of voice and vehicle that is used to explain the change will determine the buzz that it creates. Communication can be in many different forms, such as a countdowns, morning tea, videos, social media and perhaps one of the most important, Q&A. Enabling employees to voice their concerns, to have a voice and know that they are being heard may be one of the most powerful opportunities for success. Addressing these concerns demonstrates action and consideration, whether they are adopted or not, provided the concern is acknowledged and communicated to.
The process of communication, platforms and strategies employeed by your organization may be very different in another organization. What’s relevant is that it works for your business.
Engaging employees throughout the journey
Employees are the number one factor in a successful business, just ask Richard Branson! Therefore engaging them through the process of change is critical. This is critical to retain staff through times of uncertainty, but to also ensure the employees feel synonymous with the outcome.
A successful change management process ultimately relies on the employee’s commitment to the space and involvement in helping throughout the process. This commitment can be formed through engaging employees from start to finish.
By identifying influencers, otherwise known as change champions, who will pioneer your overarching message in a positive and excited manner can drive engagement to levels that cannot be achieved by management alone. These change champions also become a safe touch point for other employees to ask questions and convey concerns.
Build excitement throughout the process to keep employees engaged with the outcome vision. Building excitement can be done through sending sneak peaks of the proposed design, showcasing selected furniture items, putting up finishes boards, and holding staff talks, can all create a buzz and get employees humming over the excitement, building the desire for what could be.
A changed environment often mean new tools and processes. Training employees and engaging them on how their new space can be used effectively, and the benefits of using it effectively will help create a smooth transition and ensure a higher adoption of “how” the space can and should be used to maximize its potential. When employees understand why a space is designed they will be more receptive to engaging with it as intentded, increasing the opportunity for your project to be successful.
Like any journey of change in life, there is always a brilliant promise. Through engaging with a change management process this brilliant process will reward a company with improved culture, staff efficiency and engagement…and don’t just take our word for it… Livingstones recorded their highest financial performance on record in their 36 year history, within just 6 months of moving in. You can see Nadia Taylor, Executive Director, talk about her experience HERE.