Increasing labor market volatility, changing employee and customer expectations, cultural shifts, rising wage costs and inflation, economic instability, competitive pressures, and other modern challenges are driving the inevitable (and indeed necessary) need for organizational transformation. While recognizing the need for change is a critical first step, most companies find that the actual transformation itself requires a lot of consistent effort—particularly in the beginning.
Are your people engaged?
According to PwC, engaging people to accelerate is one of the four cornerstones essential to achieving business transformation outcomes. Research by Harvard Business Review found that leaders who embraced their employees’ emotional journeys were more likely to achieve successful transformations: 52% of respondents involved in successful transformations said their organization provided the emotional support they needed during the transformation process (as opposed to 27% of respondents who were involved in unsuccessful transformations).
Leaders know they need buy-in from employees at all levels to make change initiatives stick. No matter your organization’s aims, successful and sustainable transformation is dependent on your employees’ alignment and engagement with any change initiative. But how do you generate enthusiasm and ensure that your teams are prepared for the change?
Here are some key success factors to prepare employees for workforce transformation and new ways of working.
Set your leaders and managers up for success
New models of work bring new challenges—including how to build, manage, and engage employees in a distributed workforce, while preventing issues such as proximity bias. Managers need to be equipped with the right technology, tools, and skills to help them manage change effectively. The following three tips are particularly helpful in any transformation initiative:
1. Remain flexible in creating new models of work
The challenge of finding new ways of working can become a catalyst for meaningful business advancement. That’s why workplace transformation is never fully complete. When determining new working models, business leaders need to remain flexible and open to further opportunities for positive change.
2. Consider all levels of the organization
When identifying critical issues during organizational transformation, it’s vital to become attuned to the challenges faced at every level. In many companies, lower tiers of workers experience pain points most acutely, so it’s important to adopt a bottom-up approach when implementing new processes and systems.
3. Create a culture of choice
The post-pandemic world has compelled employers to redefine the employee experience and build a workplace that values and considers employees’ needs. A company’s productivity depends on its employees, and today’s organizations are realizing the need to focus on employee flexibility, well-being, and human connection. An effective organizational transformation strategy is ultimately about crafting a model that fits both the needs of the business and the needs of its employees.
The new generation of employees values choice in the workplace: 61% of Gen Z and 57% of millennials say they’d look for new jobs if they lost their workplace flexibility. To create a culture of choice, organizations need to adopt agile working policies and provide flexibility and equal opportunities for their employees. Other features of an employee-centric corporate culture of choice include allowing employees to make suggestions freely, and encouraging them to express themselves through open communication.
Actively discover and address ongoing needs
It’s critical for leaders to proactively reach out to all employees on a regular basis, provide empathy and support, and address internal and external challenges as the company navigates organizational transformation.
Organizations need to discover and address the professional and personal needs of their employees during a time of transformation. Doing so effectively requires a structured process of listening to employees, gathering their feedback, and then using these thoughts, ideas, and contributions to provide programs or offerings to help them meet these challenges.
Blueline’s Voice of the Business process helps to get people’s buy-in to and alignment with change initiatives across the organization. Unlocking and harnessing insights from inside the business helps secure the commitment of employees to organizational transformation strategies.
The second part of the alignment journey involves sharing these big ideas with the organization. Blueline can facilitate this crucial connection to your audience by drawing employees into the story of your organization’s purpose, values, and journey of change. We help your employees not only see the big picture, but also to become part of it through high-impact media.
Read on to see how we supported innovation initiatives at a Fortune 50 healthcare company using these proven planning and communication strategies.
Facilitating organizational transformation at a Fortune 50 healthcare company
After major changes at all levels caused fear and confusion throughout the business, our client’s leadership sought to find a way to align stakeholders through a common purpose and vision. They turned to Blueline to take them through the process of defining their future and prioritizing the actions that would be needed to achieve it. But doing that well was only half of the daunting challenge that faced them. After all that the organization had been through, finding a way to capture and tell the story of their journey in a fun and engaging way that inspired employees and clients to embrace the vision and take the actions prioritized by leadership was just as important.
Our team helped them transform their organization through a simple, yet incredibly effective, combination of planning and communications initiatives.
Capturing the essence of leadership’s efforts through a blueline drawing
In advance of a strategic planning meeting, one of our Master Artists began to draft a table-sized blueline drawing that told the story of where they had been. We left significant amounts of white space on the visual so that there was room to capture their vision. Thereafter, we facilitated a one-day strategic planning session to guide our client’s efforts to define their vision for the future and to prioritize the steps that they needed to take to get there. Throughout the meeting, the artist captured the process and the leadership team’s decisions. The final output was an engaging, table-sized visual that members of the leadership team could use to retell the story of where they had been, where they were going, and how they planned to get there.
Engaging stakeholders through the use of a telestration
We repurposed the drawing and memorialized the leadership team’s efforts through a 4-minute narrated video capture of the Master Artist creating the drawing to define and promote the organization’s brand. The client used the telestration and blueline drawing to kick-off their Future Vision initiative during their annual meeting. The meeting opened with the telestration, which laid a foundation for a presentation by the leadership team. Subsequently, three-by-five-foot posters of the blueline drawing were hung throughout the meeting space so that participants could re-experience the journey with their leadership.
The outcomes are best summarized by the head of the organization: “The successful outcomes of this initiative are an important lesson in embracing the types of innovation we want to support throughout the organization. Through these efforts, we got 80% of the way to our destination in 20% of the time it usually takes us.”
Is your organization facing a challenging transformation? Contact the change management experts at Blueline today!