Anna Honcharyk at Open House LvBS in Kyiv: how to persuade the employees that “we can not live this way anymore”

Confucius said: “Do not be afraid of changes. The most often they come at a time when they are needed.” It is about how to persuade employees of the company that the change is inevitable, necessary and useful, told a teacher of LvBS Anna Honcharyk at Open House of the programs Key Executive MBA and MA in Human Resources and Organization Development “Change management”, held in Kyiv on 30 of September.

The most painful question on this topic: Why employees do not support the changes? It has a few answers.

  • They do not feel as a part of the organization, nor emotionally related to it,
  • they do not understand the essence of the change, the strategy of the company,
  • they do not understand the connection between the new strategy and their work: what and how they should now do differently and how they can help.

There are three steps in order to involve everyone to the changes: Inform, Explain, Involve. You should help employees to understand what is happening, to explain why changes are necessary and to involve them to the creation of the modifications. At this stage, the communication is the most important. The least tasks that you need to perform:

  1. To provide a complete, comprehensive and high-quality information to the employees throughout the process of change implementation.
  2. To facilitate the dialogue between the employees and management.
  3. To explain the reason for the changes, the consequences – in case if the changes would not be made, and what the company will be after the process of change.
  4. To encourage feedback from employees and attract them to the creation of changes.

You have to explain the content of the need: why should we change something? Remember that your words must match not only the question “What?” but also “Why?”. If the employees understand what is going on in the company where they work, they see “the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and maybe I will remember. Involve me, and I will understand,” another quote by Confucius associated with the process of changes implementation. It illustrates the fact that the most important task is to make the employees the co-authors of the change.

Let’s talk about the communication channels in a time of change. It is verified that the face to face talk with top management works is the best thing in this case. We recommend you to decrease the distance with your employees and listen them more than talk. You should hear year colleagues. The tone of the conversation in this situation should remain calm, more sociable and less formal. Do not give instructions and ask questions and reply to those asked to you.

Your task is to hear from everyone. And give the answer to each question. These answers should be honest and transparent: honesty is the best policy. Why it is so important to talk personally with everyone? Because 70% of changes fails through the lack of communication on the level of middle management level. Why this happens? Here are the answers:

  • Line managers do not understand the context and how the changes are associated with the strategy of the company.
  • They themselves are not convinced; they are expected to communicate what they do not believe.
  • They do not consider communication as their work.
  • They do not feel confident: do not have skills and knowledge for the communication.
  • Communication for them is not a priority and they simply have no time for that, and everyone is indifferent: no one is interested in how they communicate.

Help the line managers to become the agents of change. Give them the knowledge and tools that will help to be confident when the workers will come to them with the questions. How to prepare them?

  1. Do they know that the communication is their responsibility?
  2. Who communicate with them?
  3. Have they been taught how to do this?
  4. Have they been provided with everything that is needed?
  5. Who checks them?

Place the focus on those who will be affected with the changes personally. There are a few rules in the communication.

Rule 1. The truth, the only truth and nothing but the truth.

Rule 2. The employees must get the news about the company firstly from the leadership, but not from rumors.

Rule 3. Sequence: communication should be confirmed with the actions.

And remember, that it is too late to begin to build the system of communication, when the changes have already begun. And the change is a process, not an event.

We remind you that on 30 of September Open House “Change management” was held due to the programs Key Executive MBA and MA in Human Resources and Organization Development. Read also: