Only 15 per cent of employees, globally, expressed confidence that their leaders can manage change well! That is not a very encouraging figure. Why are leaders required to be adept at change management anyway? Well, thanks to the pandemic, organisations that earlier struggled to make remote working possible, are now thinking of going hybrid, and embracing new technology to make that happen. Add to this the shortage of quality talent and organisations find themselves managing some change or the other all the time.
Therefore, it is important for employees to see their leaders as capable of managing change and in possession of the required tools to do so. Employees who perceive their leaders have the tools
to help them manage change are five times more likely to feel a sense of community, six times more like likely to thrive at work and 10 times more likely to feel a strong sense of trust.
The best part is that 76 per cent are less likely to experience burnout.
But are leaders equipped enough to manage change?
As per an OC Tanner research, only 27 per cent leaders feel they are well prepared to help their workforces navigate change. Not many admit to having received effective training that would help them manage change either.
According to a Gartner report, on an average, employees witnessed and underwent about 10 planned enterprise changes last year, compared to two in 2016! This does not even include the innumerable unplanned changes.
Irrespective of the kind of change, what is certain is that change does result in anxiety and fear amongst employees. No matter what the size of the change, employees do tend to feel skeptical. Not surprisingly, therefore, only 15 per cent of the employees covered in the OC Tanner Survey were confident that their leaders were capable of managing change and disruption in the future. This is disappointing.
The reason for this low confidence is that the change-management methods of the past, which were primarily top-down, liner and process-driven, no longer work in today’s work environment. It doesn’t help that most traditional managers fail to involve their employees in planning the changes.
That is probably why, a Garner research revealed that only about 34 per cent of all organistaional changes are successful, while most (about 50 per cent) are failures.
People should be at the centre of change
Organisations should consciously make employees the focus of their change strategies. The research report reveals that by doing so the wellbeing of the employees can be increased, workplace culture can be strengthened and any friction that may arise from the process of change management can be erased.
As per the report, employees at people-centric organisations are 12 times more likely to report a well-managed change experience, while they are 11 times more likely to report a positive change-management experience.
In addition, they are five times more likely to feel included, five times more likely to wish to stay on with the company and 78 per cent less likely to burn out.
Clearly, for a long-term and lasting effect of change, the support of employees is essential. This can ultimately ensure organsiational and business success. That means, instead of imposing change on people, it is better to bring about change along with them.
Communication & culture are key
Employees need to be kept in mind all throughout the change process. This requires strong communication and healthy workplace culture, where employees are respected and open to new ideas and change. Genuine communication and a supportive culture make a huge difference in employees’ change experiences. This can be achieved via employee recognition.
When employees realise their work is seen, acknowledged and valued, their confidence in the organisation’s changes also increases. This is because, they trust that the organsiation will implement changes taking them into account and keeping them in the middle of it all. In organisations where employees are frequently recognized for their hard work, employees are nine times more likely to feel they receive sufficient support to handle change. In such organizations, employees are eight times more like to believe their leaders possess the tools required to help their employees with the change. Such employees are also ten times more likely to trust their organization and nine times more likely to believe the organization cares about them. That is not all, in organsiations where recognitions is an integral part of the culture, employees are eight times more likely to believe changes made are positive .
No wonder 92 per cent of employees at organisations with integrated recognition believe change in general to be positive. Their employees are five times more likely to stay on with them for at least three more years.