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Change Management Lessons About Employee Involvement

Employee Involvement Is Key in Change Management


For Change to Succeed, Employee Involvement Is Essential

For Change to Succeed, Employee Involvement Is Essential

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A wise person once told me I could never expect one hundred percent support from any individual who was not personally involved in devising a change which had an impact on his work. The wise person was right, and I’m really happy to have known him early in my career.

In any change, especially ones that affect a complete organization, it is impossible to involve every employee in each decision. Respondents to my change management questions over the years suggested, however, that when change works, the organization has gone out of its way to try employee involvement.

Employee Involvement for Effective Change Management

  • Create a plan for involving as many people as possible, as early as possible, in the change process.

  • Involve all stakeholders, process owners, and employees who will feel the impact of the changes, as much as possible, in the learning, planning, decisions, and implementation of the change. Often, in change management, a small group of employees learns important information about change and change management. If they fail to share the information with the rest of the employees, the remaining employees will have trouble catching up with the learning curve.

    If a small group makes the change management plans, employees affected by the decisions will not have had needed time to analyze, think about, and adjust to the new ideas. If you leave employees behind, at any stage of the process, you open the door in your change management process, for misunderstanding, resistance, and hurt.

  • Even if employees cannot affect the overall decision about change, involve each employee in meaningful decisions about their work unit and their work.

  • Build measurement systems into the change process that tell people when they are succeeding or failing. Provide consequences in either case. Employees who are positively working with the change need rewards and recognition. After allowing some time for employees to pass through the predictable stages of change, negative consequences for failure to adopt the changes, are needed.

    You cannot allow the nay-sayers to continue on their negative path forever; they sap your organization of time, energy, and focus, and eventually, affect the morale of the positive many. The key is to know, during your change management process, when to say, enough is enough.

Help employees feel as if they are involved in a change management process that is larger than themselves by taking these actions to effectively involve employees in change management.

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