6 Steps to Master Change

Support your employees through workplace change

In Key Factors to Supporting Workplace Change, we defined and discussed change management. Managing change in the workplace, like any successful project, requires a systematic process that guides, prepares, and enables individuals to quickly adopt change to achieve desired business results.

No single methodology fits every organization, but there are proven practices, tools, and techniques that can be leveraged based upon prevailing environmental conditions. Our successful model for change includes the hallmarks of engaged strategic leadership: creating a clear vision, conducting good communication regarding the new vision, empowering employees, leading by example and celebrating successes. We refer to this model as the “Six Steps to Guiding Workplace Change.”

Defining the Six Steps
There are six steps to understand, communicate, and manage organizational change efforts that we recommend and utilize for our own Haworth projects.

Six Steps to Guiding Change
1.   Engage Strategic Leadership
2.  Mobilize Middle Management
3.  Empower the Change Team
4.  Develop the Plan
5.  Prepare for the Change
6.  Reinforce and Evolve

1. Engage Strategic Leadership
As role models, leaders create a vision of the WHY for change with clear and compelling messages that relate to the organization’s priorities. Guiding change may be the ultimate test of a leader—businesses must reinvent themselves to survive over the long-term. Human nature can cause resistance to fundamental change. Thus, leading change is both absolutely essential and incredibly difficult.

Tips: Identify leaders who will:

  • Create a clear and compelling message: the WHY for change. 
  • Articulate the business rationale for change.
  • Commit to the success of the project.
  • Participate and model expected changes.

2. Mobilize Middle Management
Managers can make or break the change when developing the business strategy. Understanding how workplace change supports organizational success can help what may be a lengthy change process. Managers may not realize that transformational change is a process, advancing through stages that build on each other. As ambassadors leading change and people experiencing change, managers oftentimes take more time to adjust. Ensuring managers understand and have the tools to communicate the WHY for change early-on will serve to not only support them, but also their teams. 

Tips:

  • Engage managers early to communicate challenges and opportunities.
  • Identify skills, behaviors, and processes associated with the change.
  • Demonstrate trust in the management team and in the change process.

3. Empower the Change Team
Early in the process, assemble a coalition of advocates who are empowered to make decisions and lead the workplace change effort. Equip the coalition with time and resources to communicate to and engage with individuals impacted. The coalition should identify obstacles and opportunities and create actions to mitigate challenges.

Tips:

  • Include key stakeholders impacted by change, as well as those who can support the change. Oftentimes this includes employees from Human Resources, Information Technology, Real Estate & Facilities, Communications, and Business Unit leaders. 
  • Determine key success factors to measure change results.
  • Remove barriers, address resistance and leverage opportunities.

4. Develop the Plan
A communication cadence is equally critical as communicating the WHY for organizational change efforts. A change communication plan should optimize milestones in the overarching real estate plan. Preparing for change takes time. Stay ahead of potential rumors or misguided information. Communicate the benefits for employees in the new workspace. New workplace amenities, beneficial work policies, departmental adjacencies in the design, and many other employee benefits to workplace change are important to communicate.

Tips :

  • Communicate the WHY for change.
  • Articulate project milestone specifics aligning with the schedule.
  • Deliver a communication cadence that enables processing the changes and understanding expectations. 
  • Mitigate challenges and leverage benefits.
  • Plan for and celebrate successes—early on and all the way through the process.

5. Prepare for the Change
Provide practical training and guidelines for the new workplace.

Activities include:

  • Education and training about the intent of the workplace and new workstyles. This is even more critical than a welcome package.
  • Training regarding new technology, processes, and skills to enable change.
  • Develop behavioral protocols for the new workspace.
  • Articulate key messages—why is this change better?
  • Provide an employee forum to ask questions and communicate concerns.
  • Give more time to adjust to the changes.

6. Reinforce and Evolve
Change may require refreshing and retraining. Continuing communication after your move-in is important when establishing new norms and gauging employee adaptation. Conduct a formal post-occupancy survey 90 days after move-in—after employees start adjusting and adopting to new ways of working to plan for future changes and assess employees’ thoughts regarding the new workspace.

Activities:

  • Celebrate successes and move-in with fanfare.
  • Associate recognition with demonstrated successes.
  • Conduct post-occupancy surveys after 90 days.
  • Modify guidelines, behavioral protocols, plans, processes and workplace for the future.

Effective Change Management starts by addressing shifts in organizational behaviors, work processes, workplace, and technology to build buy-in and commitment to workplace change. We hope these steps and tips are helpful to you as you seek inspiration and advice on managing change initiatives throughout your organization.

Interested in discussing Change Management strategies for your organization? Learn more about how Haworth can support your team through workplace change.

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