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Enterprise Change Management: 5 Things You Need to Know

By Lian Stevenson

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Managing change within your team is a key and vital activity to ensure the future state is a success. 
 

Imagine being faced with a significant organisational change and the change management becomes significantly more complex and significantly more important. At an enterprise level change requires a concerted effort across teams, functions, and regions to ensure it is adopted successfully. 
 
It is widely known that lack of awareness is the number one reason for resistance to change followed by the desire to change. If people don’t understand that the change is happening or indeed why it is needed and the benefits of it, they are unlikely to want to change themselves making it increasingly difficult for the organisation to meet its overall objectives. 
 
An average of 62% employees don’t like leaving their comfort zone. Many will see change as a threat to their job and ultimately their career and family life. 
 
From the smallest to the largest of organisations, no matter what the change is, ensuring your employees believe in the change, embrace it, and ultimately adopt it should be at the forefront of any change plan. 
 
Here are 5 key areas to consider when delivering enterprise-level change within your organisation. 
 
Have the right team set up
The reality is the bigger the organisation and the greater the global footprint, the more complex your change management becomes. It’s important to have the right team with the right skill set to support & execute both the project management & the change management.  
 
Consider allocating change managers or agents within each region or location who are close the immediate teams, the point of contact, understand local culture, familiar and trusted faces that can provide support and provide feedback to the central team on how the change is landing, enabling any course correction to be activated. 
 
Adapt the approach
Every employee will go through their change journey in their own time. There is no one blanket approach, especially where you have geographical differences. Whilst the same change is affecting everyone, how you approach & manage the change in region or location will need to be tailored or personalised. 
 
Think about any cultural nuances and expectations, who is best to deliver communication & the forums in which messaging is delivered. If not well thought through it could have a significant impact on how the message is received and ultimately how the employees respond and react.  
 
Managers play a key role 
Approximately 60% of enterprise transformations are unsuccessful and this is mainly down to employee resistance and lack of management support. 
Managers are those closest to the teams and have the trusted relationships. If they are not seen to be talking about the change in a positive way, that behaviour will be mirrored in their teams. 
 
Whilst having strong sponsorship & advocacy at a leadership level is important, it is critical when it comes to managers. Their change journey should start before their team, they should be brought in early and be able to feed into the change management plan in terms of how to manage & communicate down to them. 
 
Provide a mechanism for two-way communication
No change will be without its challenges or resistance but how organisations deal with those instances will affect the final outcome. It’s important to understand how the change is impacting the organisation as the change is deployed to ensure it is going in the right direction and there are many ways to do this through surveys, focus groups and leveraging the managers and the change agents across the organisational footprint. 
 
The feedback will give you a clear direction of the areas that need to be addressed either through additional communication, training, or reinforcement & reassurance. 
 
Act on feedback 
And finally, once you have received the feedback, it is critical that they are acted upon so employees feel like they have a voice and have been listened to. 

Where organisations fail to act on feedback, they lose the trust and confidence of their employees resulting in increased resistance and ultimately the risk of not having their support for future changes should they take place. 
 
Ultimately, organisational change requires people to change the way they work for the objectives to be met and for the future state to be realised.  Not prioritising those people in the approach to delivering the change will have a direct corelation to what that future state will look like and how long it will take to get there. 
 
As you think about your next organisational change, big or small, it’s the people, not the process that will help you get there. 
 
 
About Lian Stevenson
Lian brings 19 years of experience delivering strategic content for a large portfolio of UK blue-chip retail brands. As part of SGK's Consulting Team, she has delivered initiatives to help CPG clients such as Britvic, J&J, General Mills, and Iceland deliver improved supply chain workflows, increase speed to market, streamline resources, and reduce overall costs. Lian is Lean Six Sigma accredited and is a certified change management practitioner.