Employee engagement is the most important factor in enabling organizations to inspire and mobilize their people. Engaged employees are motivated to succeed, take pride in their company, are committed to the success of the enterprise and are more adaptable to change.
As companies constantly reevaluate and change business strategies, employees need to migrate through organizational shifts – including adjusting to change and adopting new initiatives and/or programs, from new strategies to restructuring/operational shifts, new processes, technology deployment, HR benefits changes, etc. To build acceptance and alignment is it is essential to engage employees through the change to ensure success.
To keep employees informed of new initiatives or corporate offerings and engaged through change is one of the most important functions and responsibilities of executives and managers. As difficult as the process is of defining what is to change and developing the change management program—the hardest piece is ensuring employees “buy in” and change their behavior to reach the expected outcome. Announcing the program on Day 1 is easy. It’s Day 2, Day 20 and beyond that are much more difficult in maintaining momentum and getting the desired results, including getting employees to embrace new programs, adapt to change and adopt new initiatives.
Strategic communications must be an integral component of the initiative or program rollout with those deploying the new product, process, offering, etc., taking the responsibility to communicate changes and imperatives in a way that motivates employees to do what is necessary for the change to take effect. The change communications continuum; from Awareness to Acceptance, Alignment and ultimately Action is the process by which traction is gained and the initiative/program adoption ROI is realized.
In evaluating employee readiness for adopting new initiatives or programs, it is important for leaders to ask some core questions:
- Regarding your intent to roll out something new or maintain engagement in existing activities, what is the level of employee understanding and do they know why it is in their interest to embrace the initiative/program?
- In driving adoption, are your people fully engaged in the program? Are your employees aligned with the benefits being touted and understand how it serves their needs?
If not or you’re not sure, do you know what to do about it?