From time to time, organizations need to evolve — sometimes drastically — if they wish to stay in business for the foreseeable future.
For other companies, organizational change is much more radical. In 2012, for example, Nokia decided to sell its struggling phone business to Microsoft to shift its focus to network and mapping technologies.
Organizational change can be difficult on companies for a variety of reasons. If you want your company’s changes to be successful, here’s what you need to do:
1. Engage your employees during the process
You rely on your staff to get things done. When it all boils down, your employees are your company’s most valuable asset. Without them, what would you be able to accomplish? Once you’ve decided you need to change things up, be sure to rope your employees into the process. Pick their brains and see what ideas they have. In doing so, you’ll prove that you value them and want them to own a slice of your organization.
2. Prove you’re listening to ideas
It’s not enough to simply ask your employees what they think about upcoming changes. You need to prove that your talk isn’t cheap. Once you’ve surveyed your staff, browse their ideas to see which ones are the best. Put those ones into practice to show your employees that you’re not just paying lip service to their input.
3. Don’t implement all changes at once
Your employees have developed their work flows. They have their routines, and at least a few of them will almost certainly be hesitant to change the way they do things. To accommodate these employees, roll out the various changes you’re planning to make gradually. Don’t change their entire jobs overnight. Give them time to adjust to your new processes.
4. Continuously ask for feedback
Nobody can predict the future. When you make profound changes to your organization, you’re bound to encounter some bumps along the way. To ensure smooth sailing as much as possible, ask your employees what they think of the changes on a regular basis. Use anonymous surveys so that nobody is afraid to be honest. Take the feedback to improve the changes you make.
5. Don’t be scared to let people go
There will be some bad apples who aren’t receptive to change at all. Give these workers a chance to get on board. But you can’t let unsupportive employees continue to pollute your office. According to our 2015 Employee Engagement Report, work culture is highly correlated with employee happiness.
Unfortunately, team members who loudly resist change will create a toxic environment. There may be tough decisions to make, but workers who are extremely negative about the changes for a prolonged period of time need to go — before they bring everyone else down with them.
Comfortable in their ways, a lot of folks are resistant to change. But change is necessary. Just as we make major changes in our lives every so often, organizations need to adapt to an ever-evolving world. To increase the chances that your organizational change is well received — and, more importantly, successful — make sure your employees have their say, early and often.
For some companies, organizational change involves switching certain processes. For example, after realizing how workers dreaded their biannual reviews, Atlassian ditched its approach to employee reviews altogether in favor of one-on-one conversations between managers and team members held every month.