Change management is a term that has gained popularity in organizational settings to prepare and support employees to adopt a change in order to meet organizational goals successfully. With technology and knowledge constantly evolving, there is a need for the workforce to be agile and evolve in tune with the changing environment.
However, change ushers in its share of insecurity, leading to resistance to adopting new methods and practices. A report by McKinsey states that about 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals because of employee resistance and lack of top management support. The picture may seem bleak, but the good news is that there is a way to ensure the success of any change program: change management training.
In this article, we look at how you can successfully train your employees for change management.
1. Identify the need for change management training
Before investing in change management training, be very clear about the changes you want and whether the new knowledge, skills, or behavioral changes will benefit the organization. The first step should be to gather data and other information to understand if you need a new technology platform or implement any significant changes to help realize your objectives. Avoid communicating your thoughts to your workforce until you are entirely sure that the change is necessary.
Change management training is important to bring about the required change in employees and help them effectively adapt and build relevant skills. One way to achieve this is to conduct a needs assessment survey for the employees and their managers and supervisors to identify the pain areas and how they would manage change.
2. Ensure clear communication
Insufficient information about the upcoming transitions is one of the major roadblocks to any successful change management program. Employees are one of the key players in scripting a successful organizational journey, so any upcoming transition will directly impact their attitudes and behaviors.
Therefore, it is important to have a smooth communication plan that sets the context for the change, how it will affect them, and their role in its successful implementation. Further, communication and messaging must evolve as the change management program is implemented. For instance, once the context is set, the next step of messages must focus on building awareness and the skills and behavioral changes required from the workforce. And rather than general communication, messaging should be packaged for individual roles or constructed differently based on the recipient. As with all other business activities, timing is important and the communication channels through which these messages are delivered.
3. Choose the right change management training solutions
The world economy in general, and the business landscape, in particular, are changing at a fast pace, requiring organizations to constantly invest in training and development programs to adapt to the changes. In such a scenario, training has to be ongoing rather than a once-a-year activity. Offline training methods would incur costs such as budgeting for travel, accommodations, etc. Then there are other costs to consider for in-house seminars such as rental fees, trainer time, handouts, and equipment. Offline training generally takes months to plan and requires employees to be temporarily away from work.
Fortunately, training programs can now be accessed online or through mobile devices. Online change management programs are more cost-effective, allowing employees to undertake the training anytime, anywhere, and on the device of their choice. With online change management training programs, the employees don’t have to worry about accumulated workload or delayed work.
Besides, these programs can be attractively packaged using a complete range of digital media to immerse the learners into the course content and achieve greater learner outcomes. With online change management training solutions, you can save on logistics and other related costs while allowing your staff to learn at their own pace and convenience.
4. Be empathetic
Empathize with your employees and address their concerns as and when they arise. This is essential as they will ultimately have to interact with and find their comfort level with the new technologies and workflows. Being in a senior position may allow you to give orders and force your employees to adopt change; however, this will only add to their resentment, resulting in poor performance.
Humans, by nature, have a will of their own, so rather than being at crossroads and initiating a series of actions-reactions, continuously listen to and address their concerns. This will help you to secure their confidence and commitment to the upcoming transitions. Help them navigate through the changes in a way that makes sense to them.
5. Encourage collaboration
To successfully train your employees for change management, allow them to be part of the entire change management process. In this way, the change will not be a shock for them, and they would be more willing participants to the transition, even enriching it with their perspectives, insights, and inputs. Employees who have invested their thoughts and ideas in designing the change management process are more likely to accept and execute the changes.
6. Define roles and responsibilities
While you want to add in the employee perspective in change management, it is also important that you clearly define the roles and responsibilities for everyone involved. It would help if you made it clear who will oversee and monitor the changes; otherwise, people would get confused and frustrated without clear guidance and directions.
To sum up, before taking your employees on board, be clear on why you want a change and whether it will make a difference to your bottom line. Once you have decided that change is necessary, take your employees on board to create awareness and prepare them mentally and emotionally for the change. Proceed one step at a time, making sure to communicate with all stakeholders, allaying their fears as and when they arise.
Seek their inputs and perspectives and weave them into the change management training; however, at the same time, set out roles and responsibilities for those who will oversee and monitor the change. Rather than force down change, be emphatic and take your workforce along the journey so that they are more receptive to change and are ready to reskill and upskill.