Sudden disruption is irritating. But as a CEO, you understand it’s part of doing business, and you press on. Accepting change doesn’t come naturally to everyone, though.
Maybe you’ve experienced the fallout when employees couldn’t cope with quick changes. Performance drops, morale suffers, and resources are wasted. The effects trickle down to customers, too. Goods and services aren’t up to par, and new opportunities slip through your fingers.
Keeping employees’ needs at the forefront of change management decisions is crucial. Still, only 53 percent of employees say their company caters to employees when introducing new technology. Employees are stakeholders, not mere resources affected by the transition. They need robust, flexible tools for different work environments and situations. Teams united in a digital workplace under a strong company mission can persevere in confidence.
Sometimes internal changes are preplanned to improve operations, but other times change appears out of the blue.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 isn’t going to disappear. The ramifications will be long-lived. But who’s to say this is the only pandemic the world will face? It’s possible businesses will once again be forced into remote lockdown, either from a resurgence of the coronavirus or an entirely different type of disease.
In such a close-knit global economy, incidents like political rifts and natural disasters impact the stock market. The ripple effects are swift, leading to massive budget cuts and layoffs.
Growth can set an organization back if processes aren’t in place to handle a rapid increase in demand. Wait times surge and quality declines. Clients leave to search for a more capable service provider.
Benefits of effective change management
Every year, the global market demands greater agility. A change management plan offers a wealth of benefits, but there are a few that stick out.
Adopting a change management model pushes leaders to research and study the future impacts of change. Managers identify and address problems ahead of time. Resources are reevaluated to ensure alignment with the business through the course of change. The chance of success is much greater when future impacts are analyzed from every angle.
Change management processes include a communication strategy. Leadership outlines a course of action to educate and train employees along the way.
When equipped with insight into the change and appropriate digital tools, employees can embrace a new initiative and regain productivity in a minimal amount of time. Stress, anxiety, and thoughts of jumping ship are kept at bay. Forward progress and momentum are sustained, not lost.
In a supportive work environment, lines of communication are always open. Asking questions is encouraged as a natural part of change. As employees adjust, they continue to work together toward common goals in the new framework.
Be ready for sudden change
No matter which change management model your company adopts, two core practices will help your team make it through volatile seasons.
Consistently communicate your mission
Strategies shift with wavering market demands and advancing technology. In times of change, employees should be willing to adjust but have a mission to hold onto as a guiding north star. Build a keen awareness of your company’s mission and get your people committed to it. They’ll be ready to weather any storm.
Dedication to a mission provides clarity when tough decisions must be made. Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky recently announced a 25 percent layoff of employees, due to COVID-19’s effects on the travel industry. Instead of sending employees off with a hasty apology, he thoroughly explained the situation in light of Airbnb’s mission and core values. Forced layoffs are tragic but don’t have to go up in smoke. CEOs can better communicate complicated changes, even in the worst of times, when a business is mission-driven.
Implement a digital workplace strategy
Organizations operating in a unified platform can relate and implement change more smoothly, whether planned or sudden.
Work is performed in a transparent environment where teams are empowered to create solutions on the spot. Employees collaborate in automated processes, projects, and case management, attaching comments to related tasks. Other discussions take place in open channels organized by topic. Employees see the company as a whole and can feel like they’re an active part of the mission and vision, especially in seasons of change.
Real-time reporting enables intelligent analysis of a change’s impacts across an organization. A digital workplace is the key to agility—the perfect antidote for disruptive forces.
A firm foundation
More than ever before, change is inevitable. In 2001, Google Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted 20,000 years of progress will be achieved in the 21st century. Your employees need a firm foundation to stand on when faced with change. A rock-solid mission, a digital workplace, and a flexible business strategy are crucial stepping stones toward effective change management. Don’t let the next crisis catch you unawares. Prepare your business to pull through turbulent times and emerge stronger than before.
Dinesh Varadharajan is the Vice President at Kissflow. He leads the product management team at Kissflow, the first unified digital workplace for organizations to manage all of their work on a single, unified platform.
Dinesh is a hands-on executive with a wide range of experience working with bleeding-edge technologies, developing great products and mentoring highly productive teams. He has profound knowledge in design and technical implementation of BPM solutions.