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People don’t change for policies or procedures, and they don’t change because they read a brochure. Rather, people change for other people—for each other or for themselves. This key insight is now shaping successful change management efforts, a concerted push toward a more people-centric inclusive model of change—a democratisation of what has previously been conceived as primarily a top-down process.
The Value Of Taking A People-Centric Change Approach
Effective change management is neither solely top-down nor bottom-up. Everyone in an organisation has a contribution to make in co-creating workplace transformation, even if that role is just to convince the person sitting next to them. Leaders help steer the ship. Individual team members can play a role in advocating for the kinds of change they want to see. Managers stand in the middle, and serve the interests of those both above and below, hopefully both accurately and positively.
Every organisation goes through change – it is inevitable. In fact, change should be a regular part of every organisation’s operations to remain successful and competitive. When we begin to think about instituting change or commencing change initiatives, it is essential to practice effective change management. At the heart of change management is balancing the technical and human sides of change. It involves acknowledging individual, organisational, and cultural factors that will influence your change efforts. When these factors aren’t considered and there is a lack of balance, projects and initiatives will fail to achieve their outcomes.
In addition, when we think of change, we often only think of the systems, tools, processes, and structures we are updating and forget about the people side of change. The people side of change involves engaging, training, communicating, and offering support to employees to ensure that people want to and can change. We view these as the hard and soft parts of organisational change.
What Is A People-Centric Change Approach?
A people-centred approach to change management involves accounting for the ways people are required to change to use the hard aspects (i.e. systems, tools, processes, etc.) that are being put in place. Considerations must be made at all levels of the organisation. A few areas that can be assessed and considered on your change journey include:
People are required to change their actions to exemplify the future state fully. Existing behaviours represent the status quo and threaten full adoption and usage. While the onus of changing behaviours is on employees, the organisation also has a role in changing the environment to ensure that there is a reinforcement of behaviours required to sustain the change.
MOTIVATIONS, GOALS, AND DESIRES
Each person has different motivations, goals, and desires in the workplace. When it comes to accepting and adopting the change, some individuals may be more motivated intrinsically while others are motivated extrinsically. As change is implemented, it is essential to explain how the change will benefit each employee or group. This refers to “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM). Leaders and managers can use this as a form of resistance management.
MINDSETS, ATTITUDES, AND BELIEFS
Each individual’s varying beliefs and perspectives make the work environment engaging. These various perspectives benefit innovation and organisational growth but can also impact how people accept change. When people join an organisation or begin their roles, they become accustomed to how things are done. As such, introducing a change initiative can be seen as a threat instead of an opportunity. People-centred change management focuses on changing the mental attitudes and beliefs that can block or stagnate change by exciting, involving, and supporting employees in the need for change.
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Many change projects will require employees to gain new knowledge and skills or put aside certain aspects of their jobs as their role changes. Employees must be supported with adequate training to feel equipped to undertake their new roles. Employees will also need clarity around new expectations (e.g., goal setting, new job descriptions and metrics) to know what they need to do to sustain the change and do their best.
The key piece of a people-centred approach is ensuring that each individual has the necessary tools, knowledge, and support to feel ready for and desire change. Leaders will continuously need to emphasise communication to share both the benefits and challenges associated with the change as well as keep their people engaged throughout the process by fostering a sense of ownership. People appreciate knowing what decisions are being made and why. When we take a people-centred approach, people will feel more satisfied in their roles and with the change process, feel supported as the organisation goes through its transition, and will want to stay with the organisation long term.
WANT TO BRING CHANGE TO LIFE IN YOUR ORGANISATION?
If you are looking to bring a new change to life in your organisation, we can help you to:
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