Piloting Change: The Catalyzing Factors and the Art of Involving Employees
Increasing competition, changing work methods, the health crisis, creating a new service offer—any number of factors can be catalysts for change in a company, and each one must be accompanied by strong internal communication in order to successfully bring teams together.
Heraclitus of Ephesus was before his time when he gave us the adage, “Nothing is permanent, only change.” Every group of people experiences change as part of daily life, not the least of which are companies. But we must differentiate between the many small operational changes that take place regularly, and strategic redirections that profoundly alter organizations and the way they function.
Most companies need to change and re-evaluate themselves in order to succeed sustainably over the long-term. Digitalizing new work processes, adapting to legislative developments and regulatory constraints (like GDPR), increasing competitive pressure, mergers and restructuring, creating a new service offer, outsourcing a department, moving all or some of the staff… there’s a wide range of potential catalysts of change.
In recent months, the pandemic has caused numerous disruptions and brought entire parts of the economy to a halt. But it has also led thousands of companies to reinvent themselves, modify their business model, or simply create brand new products and services they might otherwise never have thought of. So, we change to adapt, but we also change to progress. After all, what company doesn’t dream of improving, of learning from its mistakes, offering innovations, and accelerating its growth while competitors lag behind?
Everything starts with one question: does my company need to evolve in order to fulfill its mission and sustain permanent development, both today and tomorrow? If the answer is yes, the change must be carefully planned and designed.
Ever-increasing factors of change
Change nearly always starts with an awareness of a disconnect between a company’s goals and the means or measures it is implementing to achieve them.
There are many potential factors, including but not limited to:
- Technological disconnect
- Strategic disconnect: re-centering or expanding the core business due to market constraints, competition, or shareholders
- Cultural evolution: misalignment or evolution of values
- Regulatory constraints
- Structural constraints: organization poorly-suited to the environment
Forced change vs. Elected change
These “catalyzing factors” can be divided into different categories: internal ones (strategy, organization of activities, tools, culture, etc.), and external ones (the market, technological or sociological environment, etc.), as well as structural and cyclical causes. Whether change is forced or chosen, and whether it takes place urgently or gradually, its aim is nearly always progress and improvement. And in any scenario, success is never guaranteed.
One noteworthy study from the Harvard Business Review, which has since been corroborated by McKinsey, shows that the majority of company changes fail, not for budgetary or material reasons, but for human ones, i.e. employee attitudes and manager behaviors. This is the infamous “resistance to change” we hear of.
Take the case of a company operating internationally that plans to launch a new tool (e.g. an accounting or HR solution, marketing tool, etc.) across all of its subsidiaries. The end goal is clear: harmonizing and optimizing processes and performance. But it requires employees to change their habits, learn new practices, and adapt. It’s vital to support them in this process. This is precisely the goal of “change management:” countering resistance to change and other obstacles to innovation projects. Supporting employee development and skill acquisition and keeping employees regularly informed are equally vital actions.
Communicate for effective change!
As such, a crucial point of change management involves tailored, precise, and frequent employee communication. Regardless of whether employees are telecommuting, in flex offices, or going into the office daily, they must all be aligned, with access to the same information. Email signatures are an effective tool for achieving this change management and getting teams on board.
Easy to deploy, email signatures provide a readable, coherent, and accessible channel for driving change. A solution like Letsignit offers the ability to create different types of signatures depending on whether an email is going to colleagues or to people outside the company.
Email signatures are a new place for internal communication, and as such, are ideal for transmitting important news, ensuring all collaborators have access to the same information, regularly communicating about in-progress transformations, and getting employees involved in the success of a project.