Employees are the core of organizations. They handle everyday tasks, schedule meetings, get work done, drive sales, fulfill orders, and keep the organization running.
For the most part, in traditional companies, the majority have no say on decisions made by executives, yet employees are the lifeline of the business.
There are a lot of instances however, in the corporate world, where employees have had enough clout to bring about phenomenal changes at the top. These employees have brought about structural changes to the way things were being done.
With gradual and consistent efforts, employees have brought about massive changes in their work lives and to the overall ways in which an organization impacts the world.
If you are an organization that wants to give its employees the freedom to make things more effective overall, there are some fundamental changes you can make. Just like with any other major change, it should be proactive, gradual, and consistent with being successful.
Companies often talk about putting the customer first and in charge of the direction of the business, however this isn’t possible without putting employees first.
“For a company to truly evolve as client centric, it must first become employee centric — people centric.”
Strategies for Empowering Change with Employees
Do Not Treat Employees Like Children
Employees are grown people who have work experience of their own and ideas of their own. Hence, it is unfair for you, as an organization, to dismiss their ideas as naïve, or irrelevant because they originated elsewhere, without thinking about their validity first.
Creating a work environment where your employees feel that they have a say in their work-life is essential to bringing about change at the top.
It is the employees who are the change-makers. Most companies however treat employees like they are the change-takers.
“A few at the top decide what’s best for the majority and expect compliance. No wonder most employees are not engaged and are resigning in droves nowadays.”
It is only fair for employees to make changes to the structure of the organization with time to suit their needs and achieve the goals of the organization. To do so, you must actively involve employees to contribute to ideas behind change.
Employees Must Be Involved
There are many ways in which organizations will benefit if employees are made part of the change process. This is only fair in most environments because, generally, employees are the biggest stakeholders in any change that takes place. Here are some practical steps you can implement:
- Create a plan to make the discussion for change inclusive for all employees.
- Involve all stakeholders of the company and the potential staff (process owners, employees) who think that they might have ideas that might make the change more tolerable for everybody.
- Make it a point to listen and ponder over all ideas before dismissing them, this so you can foster a spirit of inclusiveness in meetings.
- Keep an open mind towards new perspectives and unconventional ways of doing things to bring about change that no one thought of before.
- Don’t leave anyone behind because if you do, you are missing out on new ideas, fresh perspectives, and a potentially successful plan that could come out of their experience or past knowledge.
- Never ever dismiss an employee’s experience as irrelevant or worthless, just because it wasn’t inside the walls of the current company. That’s a sure way to lose experienced and valuable employees, possibly to your competition who may value how they think more than you do.
Be More Inclusive
After giving your employees enough time to go through with the changes in the organization, you need to figure out the negative consequences that these might have on the life of employees.
Eventually, you will have to deal with the negativity that comes with change.
Dealing with naysayers in your organization is an important part of change management because if left untreated, they can sabotage the organization’s time, efforts, and focus, eventually costing the company a great deal of loss.
During the change management process, you must be proactive about this step because lots of organizations aren’t. They end up regretting the fact that they weren’t mindful enough to deal with problems as they arose.
By getting more people involved early and often, you gain a greater sense of consensus that can be used to minimize, if not neutralize negative impact on people.
“Don’t look to employees who might be challenged with change as a threat or something to neutralize, instead seek to understand them and become more inclusive of their ideas.”
Being more inclusive enables employees capable enough to bring about structural changes to your organization. This eventually helps you increase revenue and productivity.
Affecting changes is most difficult due to the inertia that comes with working in a certain way for a long time. However, the sooner the organization realizes how important it is to be more inclusive with who participates in the change process, the more successful they will be.