6 Key Principles of Organizational Change

To start, employees must be included.

Written by Jeffrey Bowman
Published on May. 31, 2023
6 Key Principles of Organizational Change
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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If a business makes only one New Years resolution, it should be to not make the same mistakes it did the previous year. To avoid a Groundhog Day-like repetition of missteps and mishaps, companies should embrace organizational change.

What Is Change Management?

Change management is a practice that encourages organizations to adopt a systemic approach to change. Organizations that successfully adapted to and survived the challenges of the pandemic reaped the benefits of change management.

Its not easy, and it takes a while. Organizational change will be smoother, and more accepted by employees, when leaders understand and follow the six key principles behind organizational change.       

More From Jeffrey Bowman 4 Ways to Create An Inclusive Employee Experience

 

Be Clear on Your Vision and Goals

It’s hard to have a vision for change if it’s unexpected. Other types of change, for instance organization-wide change and transformational change, can and should be planned with a clear vision that can be easily communicated to others.

 

Support Employees

It’s critical to support employees throughout any organizational transitions. After all, they’re the ones who will feel the most direct effects of the change. Listen to them. Conduct informational interviews that will show management what is and what is not resonating with employees. Supporting employees ensures that your organization will operate smoothly with minimal conflict as you complete the inclusive change initiative. Too, openly showing and reminding your employees of support can help speed up the change.

 

Create a Sense of Urgency 

A sense of urgency is the catalyst for any major change in your organization. Without it, you’ll struggle to get buy-ins from key stakeholders. Without these buy-ins, your desired change won’t happen. 

Though the importance of the change initiative may not be clear from the beginning, leaders must present it as such. Leaders should treat change management just as they’d treat a product enhancement or new marketing campaign: Make a list of pros and cons. Conduct a thorough SWOT analysis of likely threats and setbacks. Change will naturally be met with resistance. A narrative will be more convincing when leaders back up claims with data and competitive analysis.

 

Encourage Accountability

Inclusive organization-wide change will touch each department differently. Ensure that each team is aware of the change and encourage them to take accountability for engagement or lack thereof. Each team should have foundations in place to communicate inclusive change effectively. This includes giving teams a chance to provide honest feedback on inclusive change initiatives and their effect on each department. 

Holding each team accountable for change will make your employees feel as though they have ownership. This will create a much smoother transition, as they will be more invested in making the change happen. 

 

Measure and Reinforce Inclusive Change 

Inclusive change doesn’t happen overnight. This means two things. First, it will take a while to see the true impact of your goals. Second, employees likely won’t follow the inclusive change experience design right away. 

With these two factors in mind, develop your inclusive change management strategy to ensure that it accounts for employee resistance and that there are mechanisms to handle objections within your organization. 

You’ll also want to measure the change to ensure that transformation has had the effect that you wanted when you first carved out your vision. Employee feedback and satisfaction survey results are among the inclusive change management metrics that can measure change effectively.

Read More About Change ManagementChange Is Inevitable. But You Can Learn to Manage It.

 

Celebrate Milestones 

Change is often a slow process and it’s hard to see the direct effect it has on your organization right away. Consequently, your employees may lose momentum or interest in the change, especially if it is a particularly big adjustment. 

One of the most effective ways to enforce change over a long period of time is to celebrate milestones as well as short-term wins. Not only will your broadcasts serve as a reminder of the change, but stakeholders and employees will be able to see concrete evidence of your vision that they helped bring to life.

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