For most businesses and organizations, change is the only constant. Companies are constantly trying to improve, which usually means refining their processes in order to be more cost efficient, drive revenue and increase customer satisfaction. Additionally, regulatory changes in the financial services industry cause financial institutions to have to regularly adjust.
With all this change, how do companies adapt? Executive teams need a regular process for adapting to change, which usually means training employees. Consider these four factors to build your change management strategy around:
Creating a clear road map
The best start to any change initiative is to establish why it’s important. Linking change to the bottom line and identifying an end goal sets the stage to motivate employees. After gaining buy-in, creating as much clarity as possible through instructions, examples and a timeline for change creates the greatest opportunity for success.
For multi-faceted process changes, this road map is most successful when broken into steps, including a calendar of training sessions and goal dates for mastery.
Giving the appropriate resources
An incredibly important element of change management is resource allocation. Where are employees’ reference points as they continue to learn? Who should they reach out to? These resources the be clearly identified in their roadmap, and proactively communicated to employees.
It’s worth noting that resource allocation isn’t static. Naturally, questions managers hadn’t anticipated will arise. When one employee can’t find an answer to a question, it’s likely there are a handful of other employees having the same issue. Managers should keep an ear out, solicit these hang-up points from employees, and use individual struggles to help supplement roadmap resources for others.
Change is a time of risk for most organizations, where employees will naturally be error-prone as they feel their way through a new process. Managers need to watch closely to help mitigate this risk, especially in terms of anticipating issues. What errors are likely to be made? How can customers be protected from these risks? Addressing these questions, along with protecting the organization’s bottom line, will help make the process smooth and navigable.
An issue some managers take for granted is the resistance they might face while transitioning to a new process. The discomfort employees feel with change and the errors they might make cause some to become resistant to change, and without oversight, they even have the potential to revert back to an old behavior. Managers need to continue to motivate employees through this resistance phase until new behaviors are solidified.
Regular review and re-education is necessary to firmly establish new processes. Sometimes, multiple meetings over the same topic are necessary for complex process changes to reinforce learning. Looking into strong elements of the change and identifying places where multiple employees are struggling can help managers better coach and recognize stumbling blocks they need to overcome.
Perhaps most importantly, managers should celebrate success! Change isn’t easy, and encouraging adoption to new processes will make employees more willing to take on the challenge of the next process change. Rewarding good behavior, recognizing efforts and thanking employees reinforces buy-in and creates a more responsive, adaptable company culture.