Successful Change Management: A Human Approach

Successful Change Management: A Human Approach

This article was updated on Oct. 2, 2018.

It's more critical than ever for organizations to constantly evolve to remain competitive in a global and technological environment that's moving faster than ever. According to Deloitte, people are inspired to change when leadership meets their psychological needs for autonomy, growth and meaning. By focusing HCM strategy on engagement, change can not only be effectively navigated, but it can also serve to enhance the overall success of your organization.

Here are a few ways leaders can launch successful change management initiatives.

Give Workers Autonomy

Change often comes from the top-down, leaving employees feeling powerless. Finance executives and HR leaders should work together to include employees by asking them what they think and how they could help. Deloitte suggests using a "pulse survey" — a quick-turnaround feedback mechanism that gives the organization real-time insight into employee sentiment. Soliciting feedback from employees can result in a more engaged workforce because it lets employees know their opinions count.

Tell Employees What They Will Gain

Another way to keep employees engaged during a change management initiative is to help workers gain new skills and help them understand how these skills are good for both the organization and their careers. People feel motivated to excel when they make their own decisions at work, and according to the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) report, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace, 81 percent of employees feel positively about choosing "to work on personal interests/things that impact society."

Deloitte notes that when a change is announced, people start to wonder if their skills will become obsolete and how much time they will have to spend adapting to the change. Organizations should anticipate these natural fears and help employees understand how they will benefit from learning new skills and allow them some freedom to choose what new skills they will learn. Engaging your workforce by asking them to stretch their skills not only helps them build expertise, but is also a key factor in maintaining their engagement.

As a leader, you should communicate how the change benefits employees and gives them more autonomy. According to Deloitte, "Whenever possible, look to frame the messaging in terms of what employees will gain. Highlight the professional development opportunities or the process efficiencies that the change initiative will deliver."

Your Vision Creates Meaning

According to ADP RI, "Today's workforce is more and more guided by a search for meaning or doing important work rather than by simply earning a paycheck with good benefits." Organizations should try to align the reasons for organizational change with their employees' desire to find meaning in their work. Deloitte notes how one finance leader found success implementing change when he focused less on the numbers and more on connecting employees to a specific leader, cause and outcome.

Successful Change Management Starts Here

There are three things finance leaders should consider when embarking on a change initiative, according to research from Deloitte.

1. Identify employees' belief systems by using an evidence-based approach to change — analyze employee data from an HCM system, use pulse surveys and talk directly to employees.

2. Frame the change — how you communicate matters. Ensure that employees understand that both the organization and the employees will derive benefits from these changes.

3. Connect change to people — not concepts. Work with your HR leaders to highlight and praise the people who are working hard to effectively implement these new processes. By linking necessary changes to people, rather than ideas, your employees should be able to organically find meaning behind the changes and subsequently start investing in the process, as well.

With the speed at which organizations must adapt to remain competitive, it's vital that organizations use HCM initiatives that inspire and engage their workforce to achieve lasting and successful change management.