Creating a Healthy Global Company (Part 1)
When building a healthy company, change is inevitable — in fact, being willing to change is what makes companies excel. Change management strategies are vital for navigating the many new situations a company can find itself in.
Senior executives put a lot of emphasis on smooth adoption of company-wide changes. But what feels like an exciting new technology, measure, or initiative to a senior executive may feel like a shock to their employees. Asking employees to quickly adapt to big changes may not always be easy: changes in the workplace come with emotions similar to changes in life: denial, fear, and avoidance where senior management would prefer acceptance and enthusiasm.
A healthy company understands that accepting and managing these emotions is a key way to encourage employees to adopt company-wide changes and train them to do so. How you help your team successfully adopt new measures, initiatives, and technology will greatly impact buy-in and user adoption within the company.
For a global company, communicating new goals and implementing training processes becomes even more complicated. The situation of becoming a global company might even be the reason for your change in the first place. In these situations, it’s necessary that your employees fully comprehend what you are proposing as a company.
More and more, employers are turning to HCM (human capital management) systems and strategies to navigate changes in company culture, location, or technologies. Although HCM systems typically apply to software change, we think the core principles apply to any kind of company-wide change. A 2014 report by Bersin by Deloitte, suggests some of the best ways to get your employees on board with big changes and create an environment that welcomes change. Here is our take on the most important ones for global companies:
1. Allow employees to provide feedback and have a voice in decision making.
Often, senior management will decide on a change and then implement it throughout the company. This means that employees who deal with the effects of the new changes may feel like they did not have a say in a process that heavily affects them. In order to help employees adapt quickly and enthusiastically to changes, create a culture in which stakeholding employees (those whom the change will actually affect) can contribute to decision making processes, including expressing their fears, critiques, or perceived challenges.
2. Stay focused on the transition, rather than just the new technology or initiatives.
In all the excitement over new plans, new goals, or new technology, it can be very easy to lose sight of how change occurs. Taking some time to think about the potential impacts of the change–on the employees enacting it and the customers/consumers who will experience the end effects of the change–will ensure a smoother and more well-received transition. Keep your focus on the people involved, since they are an important part of making change happen.
3. Dialogue, don’t monologue, about change.
This relates back to our first point: when employees and impacted users are part of the conversation about change, they are less likely to be resistant adopters. Their emotions are often not as negative because they have contributed to the process of change. Making sure that you communicate clearly and broadly about all stages of the change helps unify your company and obtain a consensus about the usefulness of the change. Your change management strategies should include clear articulations of the need and reasons for change, clearly identified goals for change, and mechanisms for feedback
4. Finally, be aware of your audiences.
Who needs to know what? When do they need to know it? How will they best be persuaded? Your change management strategies should include careful consideration of the best ways to distribute information to employees, based on their needs and situation. Think about delivering your message “at the right time, in the right manner, via the most impactful media” (Bersin).
In our next post, we’ll provide tips on how to use local languages to achieve smooth transitions in global companies.