Effectively managing any major change initiative is not an easy task. It first takes developing a deep understanding of the people involved in the change and executing a need-based change plan to ensure adoption and success.
As discussed in our last blog, the results from a change initiative are ultimately brought forth through your employees’ ability and desire to change…what we refer to as their “skill and will” to change.
Increasing an employee’s will to change can be difficult
While skills can be improved upon with coaching and training, increasing an employee’s will to change requires a deeper look into his/her preexisting thoughts, beliefs, and motivations. Taking this deeper look, you must gain an understanding of your employees’ perception of:
- The strategic value of the change: Why is this change important to the company and what value will it bring to their team and role.
- The impact of the change: To what degree an employee’s job changes and in what ways does it change.
This is why change can be difficult… it’s emotional and it’s personal. Many times, change confronts an employee with the knowledge that what they did in the past is not relevant, useful, or preferred anymore. It requires employees to change their behaviors and mindset about where they fit into the larger picture.
By taking this deeper look at the impact of the change, you may discover that the perceived value and impact of the change is significantly different across job roles. These differences should inform your change management adoption strategies to ensure the needs of all impacted employees are met.
Failure to understand these impact differences and adjusting your change management plan accordingly will most likely lead to an increase in resistance, frustration, anxiety and ultimately to a lack of “Will” to change.
Since the impact may differ amongst varying job roles, it’s crucial to understand where different job roles fall on the value v. impact diagram before strategies are established. To the right is an example of how a change may impact various job roles differently, furthering emphasizing the need to tailor strategies to varying job roles.
Job Role 1: With a high sense of strategic value and impact felt by this group, reactions to the change may be mixed. On some days, people might be happy and excited about the change since they understand the benefit that will be derived. Other days this group may be frustrated with the difficulty of change.
Job Role 2: The employees in this job role will require a lot of attention. Since the level of impact the change has on their job is high and the value they perceive the change to have is low, odds are that this group will push back heavily.
Job Role 3: This group is not really impacted by the change so it’s unlikely that they will have a strong emotional response to it. It will still be important for this group, like any other group, to understand why the change is happening, but they shouldn’t require as much support to adopt the change.
Job Role 4: The combination of high strategic value and low impact on a job role is pretty rare amongst major change initiatives. However, if this group becomes apparent in your organization, they could serve as excellent change leaders. Since they understand the value of the change and are not occupied with heavy impacts from it, they can help engage and mentor the employees in other job roles.
It’s clear that the way change is perceived by different job roles can vary, but with a solid understanding of where each group stands in terms of their will to change, strategies can be made more relevant. If your organization is preparing for a change initiative, or you’re already in the midst of one and need a little direction, let us know, we’d love to help. Stay tuned, in our next blog we will be discussing tips for properly addressing the performance dip directly following change.