Change doesn't have to be hard... by Kelly Swingler

Change has fast become the one constant in businesses today, but can there be a point when too much change is no longer good for business?

 

If the changes aren’t fully considered, fully implemented and the people are not engaged with the process, then yes.

In 2013 a large London based organisation commenced a two-year transformation programme looking to change everything from their systems, processes, policies, procedures, structures, IT infrastructure and nationwide office locations.

In 2014 the scale of the change was seen as too much for them to handle so they scaled it back, reviewed the timeframes and prioritised IT systems, structures and offices before looking at everything else.

In 2015 they received their worst ever customer feedback and employee engagement scores and decided to focus on two additional ‘projects’ – culture and customer engagement.

In 2016 they had their highest staff turnover and decided to ask HR to look at a number of ‘projects’ to help retain staff, decrease sickness absence and to increase engagement.

In 2017 they merged with two other organisations.

In 2018 they recruited a new Chief Executive, a new Deputy CEO and a new Finance Director, retention, engagement and customer satisfaction continue to be issues for the organisation, but they are convinced that the new executive team will be able to turn things around.

 

Examples like this are not uncommon.  Organisations are faced with a number of internal and external issues and challenges that they need to be able to move with if they want to remain competitive.  Yet it’s the way in which the changes are planned, managed, implemented and communicated that will be the difference between whether we thrive or survive during times of change.

It’s OK to rethink your plans and reprioritise what you need to focus on, but explain the reasons for this to your people.

It’s OK to review your structures at the same time as two other major changes (IT and Offices) as long as you understand the impact and risks of this and explain it to your people.

It’s OK to make mistakes as you undertake the changes, as long as you recognise them, own up to them and do what you can to rectify them.

It’s not OK to think that your customers and your people will be won round because you implement yet another project. And it’s not OK to treat culture as a project, ever.

 

Change doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t need to be complicated either.  Consider first and foremost before you embark on any change:

  • Why it’s needed
  • What the desired outcomes are
  • The timeframes and resources available to you
  • How you bring your people on the journey with you

If you can’t answer these questions, change will be hard, and it’s likely to be unnecessary and unsuccessful.

 

Think before you plan, plan before you design and design before you start.  Then keep on communicating, every, single, step, of the way.

 

This article is brought to you exclusively by The Business Transformation Network.

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Kelly Swingler is the Rule Breaker and Founder of Chrysalis Consulting, The People and Change Experts and was appointed as the UK’s Youngest HR Director.  Kelly is passionate about helping people find bespoke people solutions to suit the needs of their business and is driving our mission of inspiring and empowering 10,000 HR professionals in 2018. She is the author of Fostering a Mindset for Career SuccessAGILE HR and what’s your excuse for not Overcoming Stress and speaks at many events on the Future of Work.