How to adopt an agile approach to change management in an ever-changing world
8th June 2021
Pre-Covid, traditional change management was often a laborious process for many businesses, taking time to implement anything new. Now, businesses are coming to realise that the type of change management required in the wake of the pandemic needs to be much quicker, and more agile.
If there is anything 2020 taught us, it is that businesses need to urgently rethink everything, from products, services, restructuring, and digital transformation. Traditional change management strategies simply will not work. Instead, companies need to adopt a transformational change management strategy and find ways to accelerate large-scale, complex change in an increasingly fast-paced and uncertain world.
Many businesses are already seeing the pandemic as an opportunity to re-invent themselves, adopting new practices which have worked well during the last year. However, with continuous disruption caused by the pandemic, change is set to be an ongoing requirement. And it needs to happen urgently for many businesses to survive.
So, how can businesses transform their change management strategies ?
Announce a compelling vision for change
As specialists in change management at MovePlan, our top advice would be to declare a compelling vision for your change, along with specific actions to take. This communicates to your staff the urgency to make the required change and prevents speculation. Your vision doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be clear.
In the past, businesses may have traditionally sought the views of many before adopting change through surveys, engagement activities or focus groups etc. However, to adopt change quickly, not everyone can be so closely involved.
Therefore, stating a compelling vision for your change, is more likely to get your workforce on board without having to involve them in the process as thoroughly as you would have in the past.
That is not to say your employees should not be involved, but you need to consider ways of doing so which will not delay the overall adoption of new change.
Empower a group of experts
One way you might consider involving staff without taking the time to involve everyone is to empower a group of experts from within the organisation who can focus full-time on the change. This group can liaisebetween management and the wider workforce, enlisted for their specific knowledge or skills related to the proposed change.
Seen as ‘change champions’ they will be the face and voice of the proposed change, helping to engage with staff and communicate key messages.
Your group of experts should include a specialist change management advisor. At MovePlan, our specialists are adept at supporting organisations going through urgent change.. We assist with creating a compelling vision for the change, help build a network of internal experts and change champions to successfully drive your change management strategy.
Create a culture that embraces change
Companies need to recognise the need for change and put in place a culture that embraces it, along with practices that support it.
If your company culture is one which does not easily embrace change, then the biggest change you will need to make is to change this culture. A company with staff which embrace frequent, fast changes will be able to easily adapt to change without causing upset and disruption.
One way of supporting this shift in culture is to encourage frequent and open feedback from employees. They will feel that their views are valued and will be more likely to accept change if they are listened to and that theirconcerns are taken seriously.
you might consider recognising and rewarding employees who embrace the change, to driver faster behaviour change in the future.
Engage with employees and raise awareness
With many organisations still working remotely, communicating change can become more challenging. Using internal platforms could be the quickest and most effective way to engage with employees and share any key messages regarding change.
It is wise for those in leadership? Roles? to make themselves active on these platforms. In a similar way to operating an ‘open door policy’ in the office, CEOs should be seen on virtual platforms to create the opportunity for questions and conversations regarding change.
Evaluate change regularly
When change is adopted quickly, it is likely that your initial goals and vision may need to change. It is therefore important to continuously evaluate and test any new change to ensure it has the desired outcome. This
is where employee engagement becomes important. Your employees will be key to helping you determine whether your change has been successful. Businesses which adopt agile practices that foster continuous evaluation, adapting and modifying accordingly, will be those that implement ongoing change successfully.
For example, as businesses begin to bring employees back to the office, close monitoring of this will be key. Returning to the office in phases will allow companies to continuously learn and adapt in an agile way.
Reviewing change needs to become something which happens regularly, rather than once a year. With change that is adopted quickly, regular reviews will become key to ensuring the change continues to be successful and is working for both the business and workforce.
As we move forward and come out the other side of the pandemic, all businesses will be reflecting and learning from the last year and looking at changes that need to be made. How you manage this change could determine the success of your business.