Change is not an event, rather it’s a process. In my experience as a leadership change consultant, “It starts with leaders having a personal change realization, understanding that change is necessary, creating a leadership team to assist with developing the implementation plan and managing adoption.” This is how you can make change stick and drive employee engagement.
Change always comes with its detractors, and if you don’t take a firm, no excuses approach to change, you will have difficulty holding your team accountable for making change stick.
Making Change Stick Starts with an Effective Plan
Leaders initiate change behaviors and hold people accountable to deliverables, however, people always present excuses and reasons why change won’t work. You can overcome these issues, establish accountability and implement a no excuses approach to change with an effective plan.
A change management plan is an effective tool that helps leaders focus and create a change strategy while also communicating the change process with team members. An effective plan includes the following elements:
- Service mandate and principles
- Process re-engineering
- Service standards and accountability
- Training and coaching
- Change management strategy
- Communications strategy
This will provide you with a solid foundation for how to lead change, frame it properly, and effectively communicate the need and benefits of change to your team to maintain a high level of engagement as your organization transitions. A strong change management plan eliminates excuses for non-compliance and also sets expectations and communicates accountability.
Learn more about change management plans by reading Building Your Change Management Plan or send me an email if you would like a copy of my Organizational Transformation Framework to help you identify which areas of your organization could benefit from some attention.
Balancing Change and Employee Engagement
Going through a transition, making change stick and maintaining a high level of employee engagement is a tricky balancing act for leaders, especially if change is not welcome initially, but this is not an excuse to fall off track and fail to make change stick.
Getting your team involved with the change management plan helps to keep them engaged and accountable as change takes effect internally.
You can improve levels of engagement and make change easier by getting input about proposed change from all levels of your organization. Ask your team what they think, allow them to make suggestions, and get buy-in up front. This helps you determine what your team members like or don’t like, and the ability to collect multiple perspectives before solidifying your change strategy.
It’s tough to hold people accountable for change when you impose something on them that they had nothing to do with. But you can hold them accountable when you make them part of the process.
Your ability to keep your team engaged during change will have a huge bearing on your ability to make change stick and change your organizational culture. Seven Steps for Creating Behavior and Performance Expectations that Drive Employee Engagement provides an outline for how to keep your team engaged when you are going through change:
- Identify values that guide your business
- Set clear expectations
- Command accountability
- Develop a culture of trust
- Manage the change conversation
- Monitor change and outcomes over time
- Put in place a process to review and reward engagement
Making change stick is challenging, and keeping your team engaged and accountable throughout the process can be even more of a challenge. Framing change the right way, having a strong change management plan, allowing your team to provide input in how change will take place, and giving change time to take place will give it a batter chance to stick and keep your people engaged during the transition.