When conducting change initiatives, inherent to the digital transformation a lot of companies are undertaking these days, many organisations don’t invest much into change management. Very often, they rely on a couple of email communications thinking that it will suffice to engage people in the change initiative and be enough to motivate, reassure, prepare and support them. As a result, their Change Management initiative fails.
A successful change will require much more than just an email campaign. If you don’t believe in change management, I’d recommend that you keep reading, as I have 3 things to tell you and put you on the right track for change.
1 – Emails won’t motivate your people, change agents will
Call them what you like: change agents, ambassadors, champions, cheerleaders… You’ll need people that are onboard with your change initiative present and scattered at all levels and departments of the company. You’ll generally have these allies informally but it’s great to give them a name and even better, assign to them a role to play in your change initiative. These roles can be various:
- Relay communication
- Gather important change information
- Train other colleagues
- Support other colleagues
- Be an advocate of change within their teams
We recommend that you have at least one ambassador per department. Or, if you’d like to quantify that, to have around 5% of ambassadors that represent the total amount of people impacted. You can’t be everywhere, so why not rely on your change agents to take that on?
2 – Emails won’t take away the pain of change – support & empathy will
Change is difficult, frustrating and painful. The Neuroscience of strategic Leadership conducted research that demonstrated that change can be physically painful for the brain as it needs to learn a new way of performing a specific task. This pushes it to create new neuropaths. “Change itself amplifies stress and discomfort, and managers tend to underestimate the challenges inherent in implementation.”
So if your people are finding change painful, it’s not because they don’t support your initiative or don’t believe in it! It’s a normal physiologic effect that management should take into account.
Reassuring your colleagues through a cold email won’t help. You’ll need much more than that to make your change initiative run smoothly. What takes away the pain of change?
- A good support system: make sure that people know where and who to go for help
- Clear communication: being through a thorough email, video or town hall meeting. You’ll need to communicate the practicalities of the change initiative but also state clearly what’s in it for everyone? What positivity will this change bring?
- Being empathetic: something that companies and CEOs often tend to forget is to show empathy and acknowledge the pain and difficulty of carrying out the change.
3 – Emails won’t stir up excitement, visible communication initiatives & actions will
Ever wonder why an email doesn’t motivate and stir up excitement? That’s simply because it’s not enough! To build up momentum to the initiative, you’ll need to put an extra bit of effort to make the initiative positive and fun:
- Branding is an excellent way to bring life into your change initiative. Give it a cool logo, a color code, a mascot… whatever suits your company’s style and culture.
- Make your change memorable: create a reward system, give away gadgets or organise a kick-off event, for example. The best change initiatives are the ones that your employees will remember forever… in a positive way!
A great example and illustration to this article is the case of one of our clients, Carrefour. We worked with them to carry out the change initiative of their migration from Outlook to Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts and Contacts. To make the initiative successful, we used ambassadors to support the change throughout the company.
The initiative was branded and the kick-off event was all about having fun in a real ball-pit! Don’t hesitate to watch this video to see how that went.
In short, for a successful change management to take place, it requires planning and intentionality so that motivation, empathy, support and excitement takes place. Sending out email communications is only one small medium in a spectrum of channels that should be applied when change initiatives are conducted.
At Fourcast, as a premier Google Cloud partner, we are specialised in change management and transforming companies large and small into future-proof workplaces. For that, we use Google Cloud solutions like G Suite as well as a proven implementation strategy and execution. But Digital Transformation is not about technology alone: with our change management efforts we make sure the transformation really takes place and sticks for everyone.
Contact us now, we’d be delighted to have a chat about your needs and map the possibilities of G Suite & Google Cloud for your company. We’re curious to hear about your projects and to see how we can help!