Are my employees ready for a new direction?
It’s a question that could keep you up at night. While knee-jerk reactions to change are not always positive, there are key drivers which, when engaged and empowered, can help improve the progress of change across your business. While we might think new technologies or data strategies spark organizational change this is not the case. In the end, people are the ones who make change happen.
So, who drives change?
- Change Champions (e.g., who embrace change and help others to do so)
- HR Team Members (e.g., who support employees and help build a strong team)
- Leadership (e.g., who adopt and promote new ways of working)
Change champions, HR team members, and senior leadership can come together to manage the change linked to building a connected business and enabling digital transformation.
Change champions can come from anywhere
Individuals who advocate for change speak out to anyone who will listen (e.g., supervisors, board members, department heads, employees, etc.) on a range of issues – from new opportunities to areas of internal improvement. It’s important to identify and encourage proactive employee engagement when pursuing change because those individuals with both expertise and passion can become your change champions.
Successful implementation of new initiatives, objectives, etc. depends on how receptive your employees are. They often need a guiding light – someone to show them the way, past obstacles, inertia, and apathy.
We see them embracing change and helping others to do so by:
- Directing change efforts and initiatives.
- Connecting with leaders and employees regularly.
- Communicating change needs consistently and clearly.
- Supporting a change culture and generating buy-in.
- Measuring change progress.
Some companies may choose to select change champions informally while others set up formal channels, expectations, reporting structures, etc. How you decide to empower your employees and help them transform into change champions will depend on your company culture. For a pursuit as complex as building a connected business, we would recommend a formal selection process based on specific criteria (e.g., technical skills, interpersonal skills, commitment, etc.).
HR team members can turn the future into reality
The ideal team of capable of meeting your organizational challenges does not have to be a fantasy. Building the right team requires continuous and open dialogue between company stakeholders (e.g., leadership to employees) and HR team members. For example, do you need a digital guru to connect disparate data sources and unleash the power of artificial intelligence at your company? If so, your HR team members need to know.
Empowered by information and autonomy, HR can offer the support your organization needs, including:
- Optimizing talent life cycles and talent management.
- Uncovering skill gaps and development needs.
- Improving candidate experience and selection.
- Creating opportunities for employee feedback.
- Supporting professional learning and growth.
The goal is to understand precisely what your human capital needs are in the present and future. You may leverage different technologies to get there (e.g., employee or candidate skill assessments, resume but it is your HR team members who help meet your change needs on a human level (e.g., from your candidates to c-suite)."scanning with AI, learning development software, etc.),
Leadership – A steady hand at the wheel
Now more than ever, it’s critical for leadership (e.g., senior executives, c-suite, etc.) to help their organizations adopt new ways of working. As business landscapes are disrupted, there are new priorities/business models to consider, and the pace of digital transformation seems to be increasing.
Leaders can get out in front of the change that lies ahead by:
- Providing regular feedback on plans/processes.
- Embracing data and innovation.
- Continuously collaborating with key stakeholders.
- Identifying change risks and roadblocks.
- Committing to change.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, we recommend that leaders connect with their key stakeholders (e.g., department heads, change champions, etc.) to think strategically about what the company is pursuing and what is possible. Take time to reflect, assess who is ready, and connect key change milestones with owners.
The result of these actions combined – from change champions, HR team members, and senior leaderships – can dramatically impact how swiftly and effectively your company can build a connected business.
Download the executive summary of NAED's newest research study and roadmap for building a business that keeps pace with ever-changing technology needs and trends. Or learn more about resources you can use when it comes to Building a Connected Business plan by reading this blog post.