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The only sure things in this world are death and taxes... and change. If we’ve learned anything from the last two years, it’s that changes come whether we want them or not and force us to adapt.
For businesses to not only survive but also scale, they have to change. A Harvard Business Review survey of 2,000 managers found 58% believe they should reinvent their businesses every three years or less. For long-time company employees who may face anxiety and insecurity with each iteration, constant change is daunting and disengaging.
Change management, the practice of rapid change to sustain desired outcomes, drives these transitions to help employees understand the value of the change, develop the skills they need for a new environment, and embrace change. The goal is to keep engagement high and relieve any fear associated with the change.
Still, change isn’t always successful, even with the best-designed change management system. Global consulting firm BCG found that 75% of change management efforts don't deliver results or fail altogether.
There's an apparent disconnect between leaders' desire to change and employee attitudes about the changing landscape of the company. If employees can't follow the vision for the change, it's doomed for failure from the start. How can leaders help employees embrace change? What's the missing link that could enhance the success of change management programs?
The answer lies in custom learning – a tool to encourage and inspire employees by communicating change management messages in a meaningful way.
Organizational change means different things to different employees. Some may be working on a new team or for a new manager. Other employees may be given an area of focus that’s completely new. No matter what employees face during organizational changes, data shows many don’t understand or agree with change: only 15% understand the rationale for change, 23% believe they can succeed personally during a change, and only 22% of front line employees enjoy leaving their comfort zone.
Some of the most common reasons employees resist change include:
Scott Crabtree, a researcher, author, and coach who teaches the scene of happiness to Fortune 500 companies, explains that humans have five specific needs: status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. When any of these change, their status quo is challenged. To encourage employees to embrace change, leaders should address concerns related to these five needs quickly and effectively.
Custom learning is a powerful tool for organizational change because it can help employees align with the new vision, understand the rationale behind the shift, and discover intrinsic rewards for adapting organizational change.
Many leaders exude a sense of positivity and acceptance with change that may seem disingenuous to front line employees. Casting a vision for organizational change should include transparency from executives about why the changes are necessary and how the changes build a more prosperous future with the employees at the core. Some custom training options include video, job aids that include the vision and goals explained, and instructor-led training.
Almost a third of employees going through organizational change report they don’t understand why a change is happening. But change is rarely made without rationale – the key is making the rationale transparent. Custom learning through workshops or town halls (virtual and in-person), videos from key leaders, or micro training programs that walk employees through the decision-making process are examples of custom learning to effectively explain changes.
Promotions and pay raises can only go so far in keeping employees invested during change. Instead, help them see the intrinsic rewards – more opportunities, appreciation, praise, and professional development. Custom learning focused on building leaders, taking the initiative, managing emotions, and other professional development training can help employees feel more empowered in their roles. Employees could also accept change easier if they feel like they are a part of the decision-making process, and custom learning is a venue for providing feedback.
Custom learning is an investment in your people, and there’s no better time to make that investment than during change management efforts. Not only will custom learning programs provide openness, but they will also give your employees guidance and encouragement.
Discover training tools and tips to create a learning program to accompany your change management efforts. Download our guide below.