What is Change Management From Your Employees’ Point of View?
The only real path to success in today’s competitive business climate is to move forward. Your organization’s ability to adapt to the accelerating rate of change will directly influence its relevance in the eyes of your customers.
But employees’ ability to adjust to changing business strategies, technologies, and processes depend on how much support and direction they receive from their leaders.
Subsequently, change management has become a top leadership competency in the era of digital transformation.
Yet still, there is rift between change strategies and employees’ needs. In order to make your transformation successful, you need to understand how it affects employees — from their point of view.
What is change management?
Change management encompasses the methods, processes, and solutions an organization uses to promote and execute change among employees.
Creating a solid change management infrastructure is critical to ensuring your organization is able to bend without breaking when the need to adapt arises.
Despite its importance, many organizations still lack the understanding and resources necessary to guide effective change. When this is the case, business goals remain out of reach and the employee experience suffers.
The success rate for change efforts is dismal
According to a study by McKinsey, around 70% of change initiatives fail — a statistic that represents a shocking failure of companies to adapt successfully to a moving and modern workforce.
There are three reasons change management often fails to succeed, according to McKinsey:
- A lack of commitment and follow-through by senior executives
- Inadequate project management skills among middle managers
- Lack of training and confusion among employees
Undoubtedly, the challenge with making change management successful originates at the top of the management hierarchy.
If leaders don’t address employees’ needs or understand how a given change will impact their experience, successful change will evade them.
What happens when change management goes wrong?
The effects of poorly led change management are broad. When you look at it from the employees’ point of view, you can better understand where these consequences come from and how to prevent them.
Here are the five most serious consequences of poor change management to avoid.
1. Diminished employee confidence
With the failure rate being so high, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that poorly managed change initiatives result in lower employee confidence.
As staff members struggle to adjust to new tools and processes, inadequate support can lead to lower motivation and a loss of confidence in their employers.
Repairing damaged employee confidence is a challenging undertaking. Once employees lose faith in the leadership’s ability to drive change forward smoothly, they’ll approach future change initiatives with skepticism and resistance.
2. Change-related stress
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, the consequences of poor change management stay with employees — even outside of the company walls.
Individual employees undergoing significant changes at work are twice as likely those who are not (55% vs 22%) to report chronic work stress, as well as four times (34% vs 8%) more likely to experience physical health symptoms at work. These are just a few of the more salient statistics that show just how disruptive change can be.
3. Lower employee loyalty
When employees start to see transformations go wrong, the lack of confidence they feel in the company’s leadership may drive them to look for more stable opportunities elsewhere.
This increased employee turnover disrupts key business metrics, such as productivity and efficiency, not to mention the steep cost of replacing talent.
On top of that, companies will need to account for the damage increased turnover imposes on their brand. When candidates find out your organization has a hard time retaining employees, it will stand out as a red flag.
4. Delayed projects and lower-quality products
What is change management if not for the improvement of your company’s products or services?
While your transformation might be designed to boost your business, failure in planning and execution can cause the opposite to occur. Delayed projects, mistakes, and miscommunications can be serious barriers to success in your change initiative.
In the face of ever-increasing competition, deficiencies in your products and services can have a direct negative impact on your overall customer experience. There is no doubt that today, consumers have limited patience for slowness.
When change is poorly managed from the inside, its effects will be evident on the outside.
5. Fear of future change
When a change management program fails, employees start to become resistant to change in general.
They fear that the negative factors that led to the failure will happen again, which prompts them to resist similar changes in the future.
A culture of resistance is the single biggest obstacle to thriving in today’s fast-evolving business environment. In the age of agility and digital transformation, your ability to cultivate enthusiasm and excitement for change is integral to success.
How to create positive change management
After you ask yourself, what is change management, ask yourself how you will ensure it succeeds.
Of course, it is not all doom and gloom. It is possible to create and carry out a positive change management infrastructure that you can use to drive key transformation initiatives across the finish line.
The challenge is understanding employees’ needs and concerns and providing adequate support.