The topic of change management often leaves organizations nervous and paralyzed out of fear because they don’t understand how to make a change that is accepted. It doesn’t have to be that way! Let’s talk about some practical things your company can do to help with this overwhelming transition.
Before we get started, the question I want you to ask is how well do you know the people in your workforce? Has it been identified what motivates them or have measures been taken to understand how this new system is going to help them? Are your managers meeting with their teams in a forum or having regular one on ones with each individual? These meetings don’t just apply to the Human Resources or Payroll department. We need to identify how this new human capital management (HCM) system is going to help all employees and make their experience flawless in the transition. Take the time to get to know your people. Although these questions are performance and culture related, it gives insight to understand the needs of the individual and positions you for a positive change management plan execution.
Get influencers on your side early
Once you’ve established a positive relationship with employees, it’s important to identify your key influencers and stakeholders in each role and department. Each employee has a unique set of assets that will help influence those around them to create an engaged experience. Once these people are identified, we need to ensure that a collaborative environment is created so we can best utilize these influencers. The tone must be set that feedback is welcomed, employees trust that their feedback will be heard, and most importantly action will be taken. Choosing the right key influencers will increase user acceptance. Here’s what you do:
1. Set meetings with the influencers.
- DO NOT limit yourself on time. Schedule multiple meetings if necessary to address any issues or concerns that can negatively impact this change.
- These people are the eyes and ears of your organization – be willing to listen to one another, exchange ideas, and take their observations into account.
2. Address the following:
- Timing: when will the change be initiated?
- Are we focusing on making the shift all in the same day or are we going to introduce it department by department?
- Who is delivering the messaging?
- Will each manager, department head, or frontline employee communicate different components of the change? (see below for communication ideas to all staff). Keep it simple but precise.
- Overcommunicate why you’re implementing this new system.
- Reassure employees that their paychecks will remain accurate and that the new system will give them access to information easily.
- Provide opportunities for feedback and answering questions.
- Who will be the individual(s) that can answer questions as they arise amongst employees?
Communicate constantly and consistently
After you’ve had your meetings with influencers to help drive acceptance of the change, you must have a quality messaging plan in place to limit confusion. It starts at the top. This is a system that is going to help your organization achieve a competitive advantage but more importantly provide a tool that will connect you with your entire workforce. Get an executive leader or CEO to lead the charge with initial communication. The context and messaging should be clear and concise with language relating to all employees. Here are some ideas:
- Establish a timeline of when messaging will be introduced. Early in your implementation, have your CEO or executive leadership work with marketing and HR to craft an email that will generate excitement. Don’t forget to follow up once a month with an update and explain the progress being made towards the new system rollout.
- For employees, create posters that identify specific dates of the change. If you have timeclocks or multiple points of entry to your building, this is a great place to put information that is pertinent to the employees. As you near go-live, make sure to have signage over the old and new timeclocks that tell employees “Starting on xxx day, use this clock.”
- Mass communication via email and sharing across your company’s information platforms and social media pages will help emphasize the message.
- OVERCOMMUNICATE and respond. Leaders of change communicate early and often. Email announcements are great. But these emails often get lost or only skimmed. Leaders, managers, and those responsible for generating the excitement need to add the topic into their daily conversations. Imagine stepping onto the elevator with your CEO or CHRO and seeing them having a discussion with an employee about the new system that’s coming. It’s simple, it’s easy, it requires little effort, and it’s FREE. Respond to employees that need more information in a timely manner to ensure they feel supported and stay on board with the changes occurring.
Applying these simple steps will help eliminate the fear of something that should not be feared at all at your organization: change. By continuing to drive the positive message with a proper plan in place, this will give your company the competitive edge. Don’t overcomplicate the idea of change, rather focus on simple and specific actions that will benefit your employees and promote a positive and engaging experience.