You can be sure that your change process will fail if you do not start from the change readiness of your employees.
When you have to implement a change process, you will face a number of reactions to the change. Some are positive, some are more critical, and some are downright negative. They all reflect the readiness of employees to change and the starting point for embracing and implementing the change process. Here are 6 parameters to help you assess whether your employees are ready for change.
6 parameters to assess employees’ readiness for change
To assess the change readiness of your employees, you need to know the expected change reactions that help you assess their change readiness. Here is a brief review of the 6 needs that are typically present in participants.
1. Understanding: learning to spot readiness for change
The first thing to identify in employees is the extent to which they understand the change. Do they understand why there is a need to change the familiar? For example, do they understand why you need to change your CRM system now?
They may find that the timing is poor for the work they need or are used to doing, and this can be a barrier to getting staff to understand.
2. Motivation: show why the change is necessary
Are employees motivated for the change? Do they see how the change can benefit them? For example, will they experience increased efficiency in carrying out daily tasks? Or will the change even help to secure their jobs for the future?
The motivation may also lie primarily with the company. For example, the company may save licences by standardising a system, even though the system will cause more inconvenience for the employees concerned. In this case, it is not a question of motivating the individual employee in the process, but of explaining why the change is necessary. It should never stop a change process that the individual employee is not motivated, but it is relevant to understand the (lack of) motivation of the participants.
3. Responsibility: make employees part of the change
It is important to involve employees as participants in the change process. As a leader, you need to be clear about how different employees can contribute to the change. Identify actions that each employee can be responsible for and give them ownership.
By contributing to the change, employees begin to buy into a new understanding – and thus become part of the change.
4. Competencies: create readiness for change with new skills
Do employees have the necessary skills and competencies to participate in the change? Are they able to run the meetings independently and effectively? Do staff have the necessary project management skills? Do they have the skills to receive and apply new learning?
Employees need to learn what it means to participate in a change, and this will cause confusion and frustration along the way. This is to be expected, but it is also important that you have a plan in place to help them acquire the necessary skills before and during the change process.
5. Information flow: ensuring a good change process
Communication is key before, during and after a change process. That is why you need a communication plan that gives overview, direction and is actionable.
It is also important to ensure a good flow of information throughout the process, so that change agents get neither too much nor too little information – and that the necessary information reaches the right people at the right time.
6. Support: help change happen
The last need you will see in change participants is the need for support. What each of them needs will vary from employee to employee and from team to team.
It is important to identify the support that can help employees understand, accept and talk about the change. Some will need support to build new skills. Others are too busy already and therefore need relief. Still others need new resources or specific expertise.
Once you have identified the six needs of the change participants, you will be able to assess the readiness of your employees for change and know where to intervene to best equip each employee to contribute to the change process.
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Do you find it difficult to assess your employees’ readiness for change? If your company is facing a major change, we can help you navigate the process safely.
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