Making Sure Your Change Initiative Stands the Test of Time

By Natanya Rutstein

Research shows that having a change management plan in place is sure to boost the chances of successfully implementing your talent management initiative. But what happens once the initiative has been implemented? How do we then ensure the change endures and is absorbed into the organisational culture? What can we do to prevent employees from reverting to the old way of doing things?

One of the essential elements of the Prosci ADKAR Change Management Model is that of “REINFORCEMENT”. According to this model the change initiative must be reinforced throughout the process in order to secure its sustainability and ensure the desired objectives continue to be met. Reinforcing the change at the start of the process helps to build momentum, awareness of the proposed change and strengthen employee buy-in. Once implemented, reinforcement serves to integrate the change into the day to day operations of the business and ultimately the organisational culture. Prosci emphasises that reinforcement measures must be meaningful to employees in order to motivate them to continue with the change.

Prosci suggests some of the following tactics to reinforce and sustain change:

  • RECOGNISE employees for their contributions towards adopting the change. This can be done by simply thanking them individually for their efforts. Public recognition for exceptional effort will promote role models for the change. Continue to do this throughout the change process and after successful implementation.
  • CELEBRATE project milestones as well as the successful achievement of project objectives. How you decide to celebrate each achievement will depend on the culture of your organisation. You may decide to take employees out for lunch, let them leave work early or organise a fun outing etc.
  • REWARD employees for implementing the changes and successfully meeting the required performance levels. These rewards can be monetary or take any form which is meaningful to employees. Take the time to find out which rewards are meaningful to your employees.
  • Get FEEDBACK from employees on how they are experiencing the change, where the roadblocks and difficulties lie and how you can make adjustments to resolve these issues. Showing them you care and that their smooth implementation of the change matters, will go a long way towards sustaining their efforts and commitment to the change initiative.
  • Transfer ACCOUNTABILITY for implementation of the change from HR or the project team to the employee and his/her manager. One of the best ways of doing this is to align performance management and reward systems and processes. Making employees accountable for implementing the changes will communicate the importance of adopting the changes and help to ensure their sustainment and integration into the organisation’s day to day operations and culture.

By including reinforcement measures into your change management plan you will not only promote the sustainability of the change but will also strengthen employee awareness and generate acceptance and positive attitudes to the change.

Natanya Rutstein
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