Embrace Change and Future Success

Organizational change is coming to a Dillard's near YOU!

Get ready for the "Launch"

One of the critical areas of organizational change is having a successful communication strategy. Planning is imperative during this process to ensure a smooth release of information to staff.

Many individuals fear change so it is imperative that managers begin the discussions early with their staff. To effectively communicate change, managers should:

  • Express enthusiasm
  • Talk with staff on a continuous basis (seek feedback)
  • Be transparent (share updates)
  • Offer support and guidance

Employees value the opinion of their leaders so managers must understand the organizational need and fully embrace the proposed change.

"Tech Talk": Using technology to promote change

Various communication modalities should be used to gain support for the upcoming change by using these methods:

  • Create flyers to post in break rooms
  • Share video blogs from executives
  • Daily discussions in team meetings
  • Videos and FAQs on company website
  • Live News feeds and Discussion streams available

Management should use these suggested forms of communication to clearly define the goals, objectives, and reasons for the organizational change. This minimizes the risk of negative feedback and rumors that can be created during times of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Time for a Temperature Check

To determine the effectiveness of the communication plan, the change agent may want to use the following techniques:

Observation: Spend time monitoring employee behaviors, attend manager meetings, and participate in live blogs, and review news feeds.

Formative Assessment: Provide front line employees and managers with two separate, anonymous surveys that seeks feedback on the communication and change strategy.

Focus Groups: Create a focus group that represents all levels of the organization. Utilize feedback from group to discuss change strategy, areas of strength, and opportunities for improvement.

These types of techniques allows the change agent to collect continuous feedback from staff at all levels in the organization. Leadership can use this information to make informed decisions on what additional actions may be required to execute a successful implementation of change.

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Criticism: How to handle it?

As with any organizational change, employees have a variety of reactions. However, most can be categorized into three groups:

Opportunists: Excited about change as this creates an environment to learn new skills and possible promotion opportunities.

Skeptics: Fearful of change as they are no longer in their comfort zone. Very anxious about the future of the company and their position.

Insubordinates: Refused to change their mentality and will not embrace change. Feedback that is provided is negative and angry.

The second group will be the majority of staff who may simply need coaching and encouragement to understand and accept the company change. Feedback from this group may initially be negative, but their attitudes can be quickly changed.

The third group will be the employees that will need the most attention and who most likely will provide the most constructive criticism. These individuals may need specialized communication to help them overcome their fears of change.

Regardless of the particular group, all individuals will have feedback to provide to leadership. Management should be prepared and welcome negative feedback. This provides an excellent opportunity for management to identify what areas are working and what areas may need additional support.

Management should acknowledge the constructive criticism and communicate with employees on what areas they will implement feedback. Communication is one key element to a successful organizational change.

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Communication Plan and Effective Organizational Change

To effectively drive an organizational change, it is true a solid change strategy must be in place. However, the success of the change is based on the effective communication strategy.

Leadership may have the latest statistics, knowledge, and research, but they must be able to communicate to all levels of employees the vision and strategy for change. Mid-level managers need to understand and embrace the proposed change to successfully implement with front line staff. Management needs to be transparent with employees by sharing any pertinent details.

Front line employees need to be informed and included in discussions. Management needs to provide an environment that encourages open dialogue and feedback to encourage employee buy-in and trust.

If management has created a strong communication change strategy with employees, there is a likelihood of successful implementation.