CHROs are prioritizing organizational design and change management to navigate continuous disruption from digital transformation, economic uncertainty and political tensions. After years of disruption, however, employee change willingness has outright collapsed and “change fatigue” is taking a toll. According to a recent Gartner survey, 74% of employees were willing to support organizational change in 2016; today, only 38% say the same. This correlates with a lower intent to stay with the organization: Only 43% of employees who experience above-average change fatigue intend to stay with their organization, compared with 74% of employees with low levels of fatigue.
Why is this? “It’s related to the fact that 82% of workers recently surveyed by Gartner say it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee,” says Cian Ó Móráin, Director, Research at Gartner. “An open-source approach provides employees with a more human deal by actively engaging them in change initiatives.”
Adopt an open-source change management strategy
3 shifts that will improve change management success
Shift No. 1: Involve employees in decision making
This shift makes change management a meritocracy, not a democracy — the best ideas always win, no matter who they come from. Plus, it ensures a level of transparency on how decisions are made. Now what this doesn’t mean is that we’re creating a democracy, where everyone gets to vote on every change. Instead we’re creating a meritocracy, where you increase the odds that the best ideas and inputs are included in decision making.
To implement this shift, create smaller employee groups for involvement based on key criteria and targeted questions. Or, at the very least, ensure that the right employee voice is an input to key decisions before they are made.
Shift No. 2: Shift implementation planning to employees
However, when employees primarily own implementation planning, change success increases by 24% and improves the odds of the initiative being well-received and sustainable.
As an example of how to implement this shift, give teams a template that crisply and clearly outlines the “from-to,” the “because” and the desired outcome of the change — then challenge them to map out their own “do’s and don’ts” in the context of their own workflows. This will empower them to own the change, and it’ll quicken change adoption because the plans will be more relevant and right.
No. 3: Engage in two-way conversations throughout the process
Virtual town halls are a common feature of change communications. One way to do this is to use a question submission and voting mechanism that allows employees to engage with executive leaders during the Q&A segment of a town hall, ensuring the discussion is two-way and focused on the topics employees care most about.