Driving Meaningful Change with a People-First Approach

In the race to push through business transformation, one key element is invariably the missing link; your people.

The author of this page: Catherine Finn
Catherine Finn, Head of Change Management Jun 01, 2021

In the race to push through business transformation, one key element is invariably the missing link; your people.

The human side of change is often forgotten or pushed aside as the focus lands on technology and process improvements.

Companies all too often take the approach that training and a bit of communication are all that is required. Yet, it is how your staff will adopt and use the critical improvements that will ultimately impact the success and ensure maximum return on business investment.

Managing people through change is vital not only for ensuring immediate results for the change project but also in the long-term: a negative employee experience is all that will be remembered once the project has gone live, making staff resistant to future changes.

As we have seen over the year, people are extraordinarily resilient and adaptable, welcoming business and digital transformation that improves their working lives.

But, as I have seen many times, if the change initiatives focus is purely on the project management side and does not recognise the need for deep human involvement, it will fail.

There can be a situation where the technology is working, but staff reacted negatively; perhaps they simply did not know how to use it or its benefits. As a result, it gave the business a bad internal reputation.

My top piece of advice is to listen. Listen to your people. Involve them, talk to them, get down on the shop floor and learn how they work, how current business processes work – or often don’t work efficiently enough.

By listening to your staff, a good leader can get a much greater understanding of how the change can benefit them and also allow them to embrace the change. “What’s in it for me?” is generally the first question on the lips of employees, so understand what’s in it for them.

Change management requires true leadership, not just a name at the end of an email, but someone who is bought in and believes in it, someone who is active and visible in the business. They join the team meetings and listen to people.

If your people are not ready or feel they have not been listened to, there will be a stronger chance of resistance to change with longer-term effects around productivity and recall of the bad experience. A company could end up driving in first gear, despite investing heavily in the business and digital transformation.

With Storm’s Change Management practice, we listen to people in all areas of the business before drawing up a plan to support the company’s leaders in implementing it, remaining embedded with the staff to ensure it is successful.

To find out more about how Change Management can impact your business, watch our On-Demand Change Management roundtable, featuring expert insights and first-hand accounts from Change Management professionals and businesses like yours.

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