Change. A word that has the power to strike dread into people the world over. Humans are creatures of habit. We take comfort from doing the same things over and over again. From our time as babies, we find solace in routines and this preference for the known stays with most us right the way through our adult life.
Given how much we fear and resist it, change is a surprising constant in all our lives. It could be the mundane, a new recipe for our favourite coffee blend that doesn’t taste quite so good. Or a new neighbour who parks their car at an annoyingly jaunty angle. Minor irritations that flare up and then subside as time passes by and other changes occur.
But what about change in the work environment? We spend ever longer hours and years in the workplace and are increasingly defined by what we do for employment. Change in the workplace is often linked with headcount reductions, working harder and longer, doing more for less. These preconceptions make workplace cultural shifts that bit harder.
There are numerous reasons why companies need to shift their culture-changing customer demands, new competitors and the presence of disruptors, new technologies that the existing culture isn’t geared up to maximise the potential of. So, how does an organisation that recognises that it needs to invoke a cultural shift achieve this in the most effective, efficient and engaging manner possible? We’ve pooled our collective thinking on the subject to give you some pointers:
Lead by example
You can employ a plethora of cultural change communications techniques and devise the most compelling rationales for making the shift, but, as your employees are human, many will still hanker for the old ways and some will potentially attempt to disrupt the change process in the hope of an abandonment. Leaders, and by that we mean at c-level, need to be unified, pitch perfect and unflinching in their passion for the changes that are occurring. Any sign of weakness or that lip service is being paid will be seized upon and used as a justifiable reason to not adopt the new culture. If the CEO doesn’t walk the walk, the desired change will never happen.
Keep the cascade quick and clean
With something as crucial as cultural change management, you cannot afford to lose control of the narrative. This can happen if the initial communication process is elongated. Rumours and fake news will begin to swirl through the business taking on a life of their own. If many of the workforce haven’t had the changes officially communicated to them then neither can they have any required rebuttals delivered. The natural resistance to change kicks in and barriers are created that would not have existed if the flow of information about the changes was efficient and effective.
Keep it consistent, compelling reasons, killer messaging
Getting across key messages that explain the reason for cultural shifts isn’t easy. Colleagues are potentially spread across multiple territories, some will be deskbound, others out in the field. Some will have corporate email accounts, others won’t. There is a vital need for the communications to be clear, consistent, compelling and far reaching. You cannot afford to have outliers who do not receive the messages, no matter how hard it is to reach them.
Encourage, capture and analyse real-time feedback
It’s vital for change to be perceived positively, that employees have a voice and a way to register feedback and pose questions. This not only increases their engagement but enables the leadership team to spot where some messages are being misunderstood or not having the desired impact. By doing this in real time you can nip problems in the bud by quickly addressing and resolving any issues raised.
A new culture is for life (or at least until the next change)
Once you have got the announcement out there and the campaign in motion, it can be all too easy to assume the job is done and that the new culture is here. That’s not the case. You need cultural change enablers throughout the organisation who will continue to champion the new way and steer colleagues away from reverting to the old. These change champions need to be equipped with the tools that allow them to keep everything on track, whether that is gauging how successfully messages are being received or sharing personal examples of how the new culture is providing benefits to both the organisation and its customers. Everybody needs to understand what the organisation stands for and how that translates into both the employee and customer experience.
Whilst not insurmountable, that all does sound quite a daunting challenge. Even more so given the potentially catastrophic impact of the new culture being either rejected or only partially and half-heartedly adopted. How do you engage your colleagues in a way that makes them more receptive to change messages? How do you design and implement an effective internal communications strategy and then harness the power of mobile technology to ensure its success? The answer lies in the latest mobile technology to drive employee engagement across the entire workforce. New innovative mobile platforms are transforming the employee experience by enabling large enterprises to connect, communicate and engage their distributed workforce, especially remote, deskless employees. It’s the perfect way for technology, combined with winning communication and content strategies, to drive positive and sustained cultural change.
How does the StaffConnect mobile platform enable positive cultural change?
The StaffConnect mobile platform has been designed solely with employee engagement in mind. We have taken our expertise and continual learning around what drives positive employee engagement, and powered and aligned it with technology to deliver a truly game changing solution.
StaffConnect creates two-way linkages between the leadership team and the workforce. It enables the leadership team to set the change agenda and control the narrative. Accurate and approved information flows through the business alleviating the tendency for rumour and fake news to take over. Every employee, desk-based or not, possessing a corporate email account or not, receives the right information at the right time. No exceptions. No missed pockets of hard to reach outposts. Everyone has a way to raise concerns, to seek clarity and to put forward their own ideas and suggestions. With StaffConnect you can measure how culture change communications are being received, allowing you to nimbly change tack if they are not landing as expected. You can check that people are not just receiving the change messages but that they are interpreting and understanding them in the way intended. You can identify employees who are proving more resistant to the shift and ensure they receive additional tailored communications to turn them around. All of this is achieved using existing technology that your employees almost certainly own – their mobile phone.
The payoff? Employees throughout the organisation who live and breathe the exact same brand values. Employees who feel empowered, involved and included. Employees who strive and achieve excellence in everything they do and the resulting impact on customer satisfaction, loyalty and sales.
If you are involved in cultural change management, or just want to find out how loyal and productive engaged employees can be, then get in touch and we’d be delighted to demonstrate how StaffConnect is helping organisations across the world engage, retain and attract the very best talent. We also have a great video that shows how it all works – click here to watch.
With StaffConnect, cultural change isn’t something to be endured. It is a fantastic opportunity to set your organisation on the path to success and to have your employees all firmly pulling in the right direction.