Organizational change will always be met with some resistance. But it’s bound to be stopped dead in its tracks if employees don’t understand it, buy into its importance, have confidence in the process or know how they fit in.
Meaningful employee engagement during times of change requires articulating a clear, compelling message while addressing the often unspoken question on the mind of each and every employee: What does this mean to me?
Seven tips to help leaders get traction:
- Own it. You won’t inspire support for the change if you don’t appear to believe in it yourself. Start by making sure you understand and are fully invested in the direction, and then share the message like it’s your own.
- Personalize. By translating your organization’s story of change for specific groups and individuals, you’ll make it more relevant and powerful. Articulate what the change means to the people right in front of you. Better yet: Spark conversation that gives them the opportunity to discover it for themselves.
- Equip frontline managers. On many issues, employees typically trust their direct supervisors more than senior leaders. Bring managers into the conversation early and often so they can help carry the message, address questions and assess the state of adoption.
- Go ahead, sound like a broken record. Just when you think you can’t say it one more time, your employees are just starting to hear it.
- Tell stories. Metaphors, stories and examples illuminate ideas, make the message memorable and simplify the complex. Stories move emotions, something logic and analysis don’t do. Use them liberally.
- Listen. Actively. Continuously. You’ll be more likely to get to—and be able to address—the heart of the issues getting in the way of success. You can’t overcome resistance if you don’t know where or what it’s coming from.
- Actions count—a lot. What you communicate goes well beyond the words you speak or write. Be intentional about making sure your actions—the decisions you make, the behaviors you reward, the way you prioritize your time—reinforce the message you want to convey.