One of the most common questions we receive as consultants advocating change in human resource information systems is how change can be implemented in a manner that reduces resistance to a minimum. While there’s no exact formula to change management, seeing as no two cases are the same, there are some broad strokes that you can rely on as a change agent to reduce employee backlash.
Here are the five key points to take into account when planning for change:
1. Nobody Likes Change
You will occasionally find people waiting with open arms for your intervention in how they conduct their daily activities, especially when you’re asking them to complete an HR requirement, like performance appraisals. This change, no matter how carefully prepared for, will face critics. The aim is to always keep resistance to a minimum, but not to expect the complete elimination of anyone who refuses to conform and accept change. It is, therefore, necessary to prepare as many scenarios as possible with the aim of being able to cover any questions or criticism that your change may result in. You may not end up with all the answers, but you will have some form of coverage that should keep you afloat.
2. Communication is Key
If there’s anything that employees dislike more than change itself, is when their opinions are seemingly disregarded by their employer. Consequently, the first and foremost element in any change operation is getting people on board. It would be ludicrous to assume that you can get everyone in the entire company involved. So, instead, you will need advocates. This happens by following a top-to-bottom approach. Make sure top management is completely convinced that this change is reasonable and better, then allow that to make its way down through advocacy and role modeling. It is important to allow top management to contribute ideas before taking any action. It’s also important to communicate with middle management to solicit feedback, perhaps through surveys or interviews, depending on the size of your establishment. All in purpose to reassure to them that no changes will be introduced without their opinions and past experiences being taken into account.
3. Preview the Potential Change
This is often underestimated, but it is more important than one may think. Introducing the elements and dimensions of the change to employees could play a significant role in reducing the shock that could result from introducing change abruptly. By giving a preview, which in our field could be done through a corporate demo or a soft launch, you absorb the shock and solicit immediate feedback from those whose work is most likely to be affected by the change that’s introduced. Again, it’s important to note that, even at this stage, having preplanned scenarios could play a key role in showing employees that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Make sure to show employees the key benefits while highlighting how the new system is an improvement from the previous system. This will allow them to process how this change is for their benefit, especially when it tackles issues that they’ve previously suffered from.
4. Improve and Empower
Soliciting feedback from employees and management is not merely used for the sake of portraying interest in people’s feedback. It should serve as a stepping stone from which the system can be introduced, criticized, enhanced, and developed in a way that incorporates people’s ideas whilst reducing the issues that they could or could have had problems with. In doing so, not only do you improve the system’s functionality in a manner that optimizes its use to deliver an effective solution to your people, but you also foster a culture of open communication and empowerment. You remind employees that their feedback and opinions are valued and can contribute to change. In doing so, you increase employee satisfaction and organizational patriotism. Consequently, you get a new system, reduced negative feedback and resistance, and a happier corporate community.
5. T is for Training
There’s this technique that’s truly a tactic to triumph: Training. Training your employees and providing a channel to give them constant support throughout the transition is of utmost necessity. At Tyconz, we pride ourselves in not only our ability to serve in your change from a consulting perspective, but also through training and support. As change agents, we realize that people are much less intimidated by change once they recognize and familiarize it. In order to do so, they need to be trained to properly understand the system and identify with it. This is done through training manuals, onsite training, offsite support, and follow up that allows feedback from your people to better enhance their experience and steepen the learning curve. By providing these facilities, we aim to make sure your people love with SuccessFactors the same way we do.
To sum it all up, at the center of tackling change is people. Get people on your side first. Get them to understand the dynamics of change and participate in making the change a reality.
Now, what are you waiting for to put change in the hands of a company that recognizes that people are at the heart of all change?