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4 tips for successful organisational change initiatives

December 9, 2023

At Employee Feedback we are often asked to use our expertise to create change surveys and we are always delighted to do so because we believe that consulting and engaging with your staff is one of the critical keys to a successful change programme, big or small.

If you want to change something, try to understand it.

Kurt Lewin, a World War II veteran and renowned social psychologist

Change is inevitable and to some degree ongoing.  However, research by Gartner reveals that only 34% of organizational change initiatives are deemed successful with an alarming 50% considered ‘clear failures’.  

Even when the reason for change is a good one poor implementation of the change process can have a negative impact on productivity and performance which is bad for any business.  

There are many models for change already, so we don’t want to add another but we wanted to share some of our top tips for successful change.

Tip 1 - clearly define goal

One thing we notice time and time again is that models about change start with change.  We think the start point is before that, defining what the goal is, for example, higher productivity, a strong culture, successful Flexible Working Arrangements, greater diversity at senior levels etc.  

It is important to have a clear goal or vision from the beginning to the end of a project, that way everyone can focus on what is the aim of change and not just on the change process itself.

Tip 2 - consult and engage

It is hard if not impossible to impose change on others especially if you don’t know what they are feeling or experiencing.  

We design change surveys to engage staff from the outset with the prospect of change to create understanding and buy-in to the goal and to gather vital information about the strengths and weakness of the current situation or approach and valuable ideas for how change could be achieved.  

It is important for senior managers to align fully, consistently and publicly with the objective, but this doesn’t mean they have to have all the answers for the best way to achieve the goal.  

Engaging staff through a change survey can help you gather useful information, opinions and assumptions and by providing anonymity you have a much better chance of finding out what staff really think.   Why wouldn’t any business want to tap into the knowledge and creativity of its staff when looking to reach new goals and strengthen the business.

These principle and more are captured neatly in this useful article.  Staff who feel they have agency and a voice are more likely to feel valued and feel part of the change process and so more likely to work with you to achieve better outcomes for the business.

Tip 3 - set milestones

Every project needs clear milestones so you can understand your rate of progress and upcoming deadlines.  These are also really important to celebrate that progress.  Celebration makes us feel good, achievement makes us feel good, make this work for you.  

Tip 4 - provide transparent communication and feedback

In almost every project we run for our clients we stress how communication is key to success.  Every organisation will have a range of personality types and often a wide range of attitudes towards and investment in a goal.  A project needs to consider how to reach out and positively engage with all these different groups and create a sense of shared ownership.  

Communications shouldn’t just report on progress but can celebrate the contributions of teams and individuals, engage staff further by sharing challenges, and encouraging new ideas.  Not every idea can be acted upon and judgement and ultimate decision making is the role of the project lead but providing transparency and feedback around decisions will further engage your people.  

Employee Feedback can also help your organisation gain benefit from change surveys and offer wider support such as town halls, briefings for one-to-ones and team meetings, focus groups, round tables and listening workshops.  

Talk to us today about your change objectives and how we can help you bring your people with you on the journey to success.  

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