Embracing Change. Won’t You Join Me?
Change can be uncomfortable, even under the best circumstances. But when your entire worldview is challenged practically overnight, it’s particularly difficult.
Over the past several months, people around the globe – Kenway Consulting included – have experienced monumental change with no time to prepare. Or did we?
Kenway, along with countless other businesses, was forced to respond to the changes brought on by the global pandemic extremely quickly, which often leads to a very reactive response. However, by leveraging our experience providing change management services to our clients, we were able to ease our employees into a new work model in a more proactive manner. Although this circumstance was unlike a typical change management engagement where we might help with a systems implementation or mergers and acquisitions, we were still able to leverage our methodology to plan and execute a change plan as we would in any situation.
From a purely “business as usual perspective,” existing remote working practices were put into overdrive. As consultants, we are not always co-located with our clients, so working virtually in an efficient and productive manner had already been proven. We did, however, quickly ramp up our staff on the additional tools and technologies introduced to enable and support our virtual model on a much larger scale.
Where Kenway excelled in this unprecedented time was from a culture perspective. Employees were abruptly forced into an unfamiliar social construct. We were cut off from each other, cut off from our clients, and many were even cut off from family members.
Kenway quickly mobilized a task force and leveraged existing communication channels to create a comprehensive communication plan. Messaging from leadership was swift and intentional, anticipating the anxiety and fears that employees were experiencing and providing them with timely information and updates. These all-company communications were supplemented with 1:1 touchpoints between employees and their internal career counselors to ensure messages were clear and questions were answered.
Additionally, our Employee Engagement team brainstormed ideas on how to keep the Kenway family connected through a variety of formats including virtual happy hours and lunches, a company trivia night, and by sharing useful tips and tricks spanning topics such as employee & family well-being, learning & development, productivity, networking and client engagement.
In keeping the individual in mind and applying Prosci’s ADKAR® Model (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement), Kenway was able to better manage this unplanned change and guide employees along the journey. We helped each other adapt to the “now normal” by following these principles:
- Understand the unique needs of employees, anticipate their concerns, and communicate with regular cadence.
Tip: If you plan to discontinue or switch gears on how you will be communicating in the future, communicate it!
- Provide adequate training to ensure employees know how to use new tools and technology.
Tip: If a process is changing, ensure all stakeholders are aware!
- Ensure employees have access to the resources they need to help them embrace the change.
Tip: Remember, change can be emotional. Don’t dismiss the very human reaction to change!
- Celebrate successes.
Tip: Don’t overlook this important part of change, especially now. Even though you are not co-located, employees still need to know that they are valued for their contributions.
I don’t know what the future holds, or when we will get back to the life we used to know. But I do know that Kenway has the tools to adapt and lead us through whatever the change may be.
Does your organization need help executing internal change? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.