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How will you enable your employees to adopt change?

You need a plan!

In the ideal world, 100% of our employees will adopt a change immediately. That rarely happens, of course. And, of course, we rarely get 100% of employees even after a while. To get as close as possible to 100% adoption of change, you must have a plan!

Consider first, how much change you are asking your employees to embrace. The amount of change will certainly impact how much time you should dedicate to enabling for adoption of the change.

For example, a highly complex initiative that crosses multiple functions and impacts significantly how the work is done will require far more time in engaging employees prior to actually launching the initiative. On the other hand, a smaller initiative, that involves one department and simply “tweaks” how work is done can likely be socialized at the same time the initiative is launched.

Consider also, the impact on the change based on factors, such as,

  • Success of past change initiatives
  • How effectively the organization communicates
  • Level of trust between leadership and employees
  • What else is going on in the organization that may impact the ability to do one more thing

Develop your Plan

Develop a high level plan on how you will engage employees in change, which will eventually lead them to adopt the change. Your plan should include information on:

  • Communication: How will you communicate about the change early on, throughout the change initiative and after the change has been implemented? Be sure that initial communications shares the vision for the change as well as the value to, not just the organization, but each employee also.
  • Communication Channels: What channels will be used to communicate? How can employees share information/feedback to the team leading the change? (Use a variety of channels – both informal and formal – to engage the broadest group of employees in the change.)
  • Training: How will employees be trained on the change? Remember that even a small change will require some training. Letting employees know that training will be provided – even if you don’t yet have the details – enables them to relax a bit more about the upcoming change.
  • Testing: How will the change be tested? Will a pilot group be used? Employees want to know that the change will be validated before they are required to begin using it. Similar to a training plan, all the details are not yet needed; just knowing that the change will be tested before formally launched relaxes employees.
  • Involvement of employees: What level of involvement will employees have in contributing to and shaping the change? (Keep in mind that you want to have employees to a great extent since they are the ones who will likely have to work with the change.)

These are some key documents/information to include in the overall change plan. By thinking about the change, and planning for it, prior to actually launching the change initiative, you are more likely to engage employees in change early on which means you are more likely to increase the number of employees who adopt the change.

Want to learn more? Check out Gina’s most recent book, Implementing Positive Organizational Change: A Strategic Project Management Approach, based on her years of experience working with a variety of large, global organizations on transformational change initiatives.

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