Up to 70 per cent of change initiatives fail says but change is essential for organisations to remain competitive.Change is essential for organisations to remain competitive both in the market place and as an employer that attracts top talent. How the change is communicated, implemented and managed is the key to successful organisational change.

“93 per cent of companies are going through or in a kind of change” Forbes, 2014

Change management is the introduction and implementation of transformational strategies, applied at the individual and organisational level, in order to drive a business or organisation towards achieving their strategic goals.

“Up to 70 per cent of change initiatives fail” McKinsey, 2013

There are a variety of factors that may drive an organisation towards a period of change. These can come from both internal and external sources including:

  • Creating competitive advantage
  • Repositioning in the market-place
  • Growth, mergers or acquisitions
  • Legal, political or economic change

“The most important weapon that an organisation has to weather the change storm is its employees.”

With engaged employees that understand the reasons for the change and how it will be implemented, change initiatives are more likely to be successful. However, a disengaged, anxious and resistant workforce is a common challenge.

People can resist change for many reasons such as misunderstanding; lack of trust; low resilience for change; disagreement with the choices; or fear about the effect it will have on them personally.

Ensuring that employees do not resist the change is vital for employee wellbeing and organisational performance. It is therefore essential to manage organisational change appropriately at an organisational level and to consider employees appropriately at an individual level. The entire workforce must feel empowered and involved in the change in order for it to succeed.

So what practical steps can you take to guide your people through successful change?

The very first step of a successful programme involves identifying the need for change and then clearly articulating the vision and goal(s) that this change is designed to achieve. You will need to conduct a thorough audit across the organisation to determine where you are now, where you want to be and where/what the gaps are. This will also give you a benchmark to look back on and measure how far you have come later in the process.

It is crucial that you engage employees from the outset of any change programme, so transparency throughout is essential.

“Companies and employees alike cite poor communication as a primary reason for viewing change as difficult or uncertain.”

To embed the benefits of the change long-term, it is important to continually review progress and refocus the vision where necessary. Refreshing the programme regularly will keep you on track and ensure that your change strategies are being implemented correctly. Employee engagement surveys containing a qualitative element will provide that extra layer of information via a confidential and impartial medium and can even help you to crowd-source ideas from those involved in day-to-day operations.

Don’t forget to celebrate success throughout the change journey and remember to share those highs with your entire workforce. Finally, a greater awareness of and appreciation for the value brought by different talents and styles can be the key to taking success far beyond the implementation of change.

Download your free whitepaper on change management and explore the many avenues to managing transitions and keeping your workforce engaged.

Louise Basu, HR Director of Thomas International