Introduce change AND engage employees
Initiating change in any organization can be a challenge, particularly when the “idea” for the change evolves from “management” and not the employees. I’ve found repeatedly that the changes identified and introduced by employees have the greatest chance for long-term success.
This said there are really only two directions any change can take once introduced:
Progress: It can evolve and improve.
Regress: It can diminish and fizzle out.
In essence whether organizational change progresses or regresses is determined largely by the extent to which employees are empowered to take control of how the change is introduced and integrated into the workplace.
Consider for example, a simple scenario in which you require employees to cover a ten hour day. Since most employees work eight hours there are really only a few options available:
1. Assign staggered shifts to employees.
2. Hire a part time employee to cover the additional two hours per day.
3. Present the challenge to employees and ask for their solution on how to address the problem.
The most successful outcome (sustained change AND satisfied employees) will result from option 3. Presuming that employees find a pragmatic solution, if they experience obstacles or challenges during deployment, it’s important to encourage further discussions and brainstorming. This is not the time to defer back to option 1 or 2 and identify the solution.
So in order to sustain change, continue to support employees in addressing obstacles or changes that present themselves along the journey. Your encouragement will help build a stronger and more collaborative team, both of which will result in an improvement in your employees engagement in change.
© Shawn Casemore 2014. All rights reserved.