Change the odds for workplace transformation

“Change is disturbing when it is done to us, exhilarating when it is done by us.”

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

In business, not changing is not an option. Technology and globalization have seen to that. But trying to impose a transformation onto a workforce that’s not ready for it can produce fear, frustration and, ultimately, failure. Unfortunately, this scenario is almost an industry standard: about 70 percent of workplace change efforts fail, according to some estimates.

But if a transformation is managed well, the payoffs can be huge. A recent study on how change management affects the ROI of a project showed the that firms with excellent change-management practices can gain up to 43 cents for every dollar spent on a project, while those with poor change-management methods can lose 35 cents for every dollar spent .

Here is a variety of ways that leaders can ensure they build a strong culture of support so that transformation can take hold:

Involve people in the change

If all employees, of any level, are given a chance to be a part the transformation, they’ll feel more appreciated, included and enthusiastic about the change.  Assign ownership of various components of the transformation to your employees. Let them suggest how to make the changes happen, and let them become your advocates for change.

Effectively communicate the change

Talking about a change upfront and allowing everyone in the workplace have access to plans and offer feedback can help ensure that employee are satisfied with the change.

It’s important to emphasize the actual reasons for making a change. Employees often consider their own convenience and overlook what what’s best for the company, so explaining your reasoning will help ensure that employees are following the company’s core values and goals when making the change.

Let “early adopters” help the “resisters”

Once the plan is discussed, some employees will accept the idea early on, while others will take much longer to get on board. Only 10-15 percent of employees will immediately accept a change taking place, while everyone else takes more time to process and adopt it. Having those who readily accept the change connect to and persuade those who are more resistant will make the transition much smoother.

Embracing change helps businesses stay competitive and respond more effectively to customers. If your workforce is informed, supportive and enthusiastic, you’ll be able to accomplish these goals, and keep making many successful changes.

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