Let’s be honest, change is always tough. And when you’re navigating a shift to an entirely new process or technology within your organization, your employees often need to know more than simply what is changing—they need to understand why in order to respect and honor the process and advocate for it internally.
When you’re planning a substantial change that will impact your entire team, it’s important to put a framework in place that will set up your organization for success in the transition. You’ll need to be able to educate and engage your team, and to set up a system of tracking success so that you know what’s working and what’s not as you complete the process.
Gartner found that more than 80% of organizations manage change from the top-down—but if you want to improve adoption, it’s essential to get buy-in at every level of the company from day one.
Here are seven tips for successfully navigating through organizational transformation:
Find an advocate
Identify a teammate or employee who can actively work to promote and educate the rest of the team about what’s changing, and guide them through the process. This can be a great career growth opportunity for a promising employee, providing them with experience in management, team building, and change management. This individual can serve as the go-to point of contact, and collect feedback and route issues to the leadership team as they arise.
Be clear about how the change will impact the organization
First, lay out the objective for the change, using the “From/To/Because model.” Within this framework, “from” identifies the current behaviors that will be modified; “to” identifies the desired behaviors after the transformation; and “because” showcases the underlying reasons for the change. When presenting the process, be clear with your employees on what will stay the same, what will be different, and when the change will occur. Lay out the metrics that will be used to track success overall and each employees’ adherence to the process.
Start with small changes
With many forms of organizational change, there’s no need to straight from 0 to 100. Implement small behavioral changes before making larger ones: For instance, if you’re migrating your organization over to Stack Overflow for Teams, you can ask employees to begin by posting questions that they’d otherwise post on Slack on Teams, and then make incremental changes from there in how they begin to use the tool. Set up a peer support system, creating groups of two to four people to help each other through the new system and share feedback with one another.
Trial the change
Set guidelines for how long you plan to try out a certain change, and build a plan for what will happen once the trial is complete based on how well it goes. If it’s successful, will you initiate the same change to a larger group within the organization, or build in additional changes? Make sure that your team is clear on what will happen when, based on the outcome.
Gather input frequently
In early stages of a new change, regular feedback is critical for making sure that you’re getting things right. Get a daily read on whether your teams are meeting goals or feeling comfortable with new tools by using polling tools in Slack. When you host stand up meetings, get a weekly read on return on time invested (ROTI) by asking team members to quantify the benefit they saw in the last week from using the tool. Make sure that employees are sharing both positive and negative feedback—it’s important to learn what’s not working and why so that you can dig into the problems and enlist employees to create an action plan for change.
Share progress and celebrate your wins
Make sure to fill the entire team in on how things are going with your change management process. Provide weekly reports on how well you’re hitting your metrics and your ROTI votes. Each week, discuss your wins and ask team members to chime in with their own achievements. Discuss the feedback you’ve received and how you’re addressing it, and provide updates on the next minor change that will be taking place.
Find resources to guide you
Change management is tricky, but by following the lessons of those who’ve successfully executed organizational transformations, you’ll be able to set up clear-cut processes that your team can follow. Review research from Gartner on change management communication, as well as Prosci’s Organizational Change Management Checklist.
By adopting proven models, you’ll be able to track success against existing benchmarks and easily evaluate how well your team is doing.