By Natanya Rutstein
Research has shown that one of the most common reasons for the failure of any project is the inability to successfully manage the people dimension of change. “In a study of 248 companies, effective change management with employees was listed as one of the top-three overall success factors for the project.” HR professionals should always include change management tools and techniques in their project planning and implementation. Doing this will help to mitigate against employee resistance to the change, equip managers to facilitate the change and support employees through the entire change process.
Consider the scenario of an organisation embarking on the process of automating and simplifying their existing performance management system. How could change management principles be integrated in the project to gain the buy-in and continued support of the workforce?
Here are some tips and techniques to help you get started on practicing change management principles in your talent management projects and initiatives:
- Always communicate to employees why there is a need for the change, what the changes will be and how each individual will be affected by the change. Make it clear to employees how they will benefit from the change. This can be done through general employee communications, group sessions or individual sessions between managers and employees. Executive presentations can also be very effective.
- Because managers are the first line of contact and support for employees and it is vital that they themselves understand the changes and buy-in to them. They must be given the necessary training on the system as well skills to coach and support their employees.
- Choose an executive sponsor for the change who has credibility and is seen as an open and honest communicator by employees. The sponsor must communicate regularly and remain engaged and committed to the process. He/she MUST walk the talk.
- Involve employees in creating the new system. This can be done by selecting individual employees to participate in focus groups which explore their experience and perceptions of the current system. Questionnaires can also be distributed to get employee feedback.
- Involve employees in the testing of the new system and use their feedback to make improvements and changes.
- Identify potential challenges and points of resistance by conducting a readiness assessment. The project team can then use this information to include change management measures in their planning.
- Continuous communication of all developments and project progress is essential to keep the employees motivated and engaged in the process. Support may wane if there is a break in communication.
- Employees must be given the appropriate training on the new system as well as relevant support structures to assist them after implementation. The manager may designate certain individuals to act as champions of the process and to assist with one-on-one coaching and support. Other support structures could include job aids, reference guides, checklists and templates. Online support can be provided via integrated troubleshooting functions. You may also consider setting up a help-line for the initial implementation period.
- Appropriately reward and acknowledge employees for using the system. This will serve to reinforce the change and help the employees to forget about the old system and embrace the new one. This can be done through individual positive feedback from managers, recognition from senior level sponsors or project-sponsored celebrations for employees.
At The Talent Hub International we strive to integrate the latest change management tools and techniques into all our services. We offer our clients support in guiding their workforce to successfully navigate change thereby improving the organisational outcomes of their talent management initiatives.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org