- The management group have a strategy day to discuss the future of the organisation, normally without obtaining feedback from employees
- The management group comes back and informs organisation about said change all the while employees have started the treadmill of rumours
- Employees are asked and are expected to embrace and implement changes in culture and behaviour
To ensure employee engagement and involvement in the change process, you have to enable and engage people to be a part of the change. Allowing everyone a voice is important to as well as an ability to feedback their fears, thoughts and concerns. And, remember that employees go through the change curve or transformation curve slower than the management group.
Organisations built on a traditional business model tend to have communication channels that aren’t optimal and limited ways of transmitting information through the company. What we normally say is that it’s always ok with more information, and, in an organisation that goes through major change, it’s almost impossible to communicate too much.
3 ways to engage people through the change curve
- Listen. Actively listen. Do not listen to reply. Listen to understand and get all information, also what they are not saying so that you can get a sense of where they’re at
- Communicate. More than you think is necessary, get their feedback. Ask staff what they think and feel about the changes. Amend as necessary.
- Involve your people. Allow the most engaged to become change ambassadors to drive the change from the bottom up and inside out.
In recent months, as there have been indications of a potential economic downturn, numerous companies have announced layoffs as a means to reduce costs, and middle management has frequently been a common target.
The Harvard Business review also reports that through their years of advising clients and conducting research on workforce trends, they have observed that this critical organisational layer often experiences significant reductions.
Regrettably, the term “middle” suggests that the individual in this position is merely passing through on their way to higher roles, ideally reaching the top.
However, McKinsey argue that middle management should not merely be seen as a transitional phase but can actually be a final destination in itself.
Over the past few years, there has been a remarkable transformation in the definitions of work culture, which essentially refers to “how things are done here.” Numerous elements like processes, technology, workflows, and training have been undergoing significant modifications as leaders strive to adapt to global pressures and fulfill the evolving expectations of employees.
One of the biggest challenges faced by leaders is how to provide the best possible support to their employees, especially mid-level managers who directly support their teams. According to the UK Economist Impact Report – nearly all survey respondents (98%) want to or already have rethought their office space or deployed hybrid working technologies. In addition, 71.5% were looking to increase their spending on digital workspaces.
Employees are clear on one thing — they want the flexibility to choose between remote, hybrid, or office-based working arrangements. In the UK research suggests that the benefits relate to flexible scheduling, personal cost savings, the absence of commuting and improved home care opportunities, for pets, children and/or relatives
Recovering from disruption is difficult, but some organisations have managed to overcome and become even more resilient, thanks to a systems mindset emphasising agility, psychological safety, adaptable leadership, and cohesive culture.
As we return to the office full time, continue to work remotely, or adopt a hybrid of both approaches, one fact remains – COVID-19 and the restrictions it brought significantly transformed the way we work, where we work, and how we feel about work.
It is often stated that culture is really all about behaviours. Therefore, changing behaviour is critical to changing culture. The challenge is to change behaviour in a sustainable way.
Coping with big challenges such making hybrid teams work and deciding when, or whether, to get people back in the office, have meant that leaders themselves have had to shift to become more agile themselves.
Here’s a few ideas about how to keep ahead of the change curve that is coming at you in 2022.
What is the required mindset of leaders so that technology trends can be exploited in a journey to achieve innovation and market success? Complacency is certainly not part of that mindset yet it can lead to disaster for organisations.