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Date posted: 20th November 2018

20th November 2018

How to engage your people through change

How to engage your people through change

Change is inevitable…

… how we engage our people throughout this change is what will set us up and set us apart. Brexit, GDPR, gender inequality, workplace wellbeing, the impact of AI, the changing technology, mergers & acquisitions, the list goes on… 2018 has so far been a year of change and lots of it.

That’s why on 8th November, together with Peakon we brought together passionate people from all areas of business to discuss with each other and learn from our expert speakers on how to not only embrace this change but keep our entire organisation focused and onboard.

A short summary of the key takeaways from the event are:

What’s stopping us from making change successful?

  • Unengaged Leaders and Managers – As Emma Bridger mentioned, they are often cited as barriers to change but companies are just not doing enough to invest in them
  • Lack of Employee involvement – this one is pretty self-explanatory as Lizzie from Peakon highlighted when she shared with us a video case study of how their client had successfully listened and involved all their employees. 
  • Lack of understanding and vision – Organisations often talk about big changes but aren’t clear on the rationale behind it
  • Change fatigue – companies don’t give their people enough time to accept and get used to changes before implementing new initiatives

What helps us deliver successful change?

  • Influencers – there was a lot of talk about influencers in organisations and the power of making them advocates. Finding out who your key influencers are in your business and getting them on board is vital.
  • Transparency – sometimes change has to happen for reasons that aren’t that positive and sometimes you don’t have all the answers. Being transparent with your people and allowing them to be a part of the journey will mean they are much more likely to get behind you even when the future is uncertain.
  • Listening – listen to your people even when you don’t like what they are saying. Responding to negativity will have a huge impact on getting everyone on board.
  • Clean the fish tank not just the fish – a fabulous analogy from Carrie Birmingham. When you are dealing with issues and complaints around 1 person, use it to look at the organisation as a whole, chances are the issues are much much wider.
  • Create a movement – make sure new change behaviours are being implemented from both the top and the bottom of your organisation, get enough similar others to take action and you will build a movement
  • Talk about people, not business metrics – if you really want people to change it has to be about more than just business. As Martin Fitzpatrick put it, your people don’t care how the business is performing unless it directly impacts their job. They care about people not business metrics yet so many companies use business metrics as a way to justify change
  • Storytelling – this was a theme that came up numerous times. If you want real change it can’t just be about awareness, you need to activate your people’s emotions through storytelling and make people feel like they own the change
  • Start small and build momentum – As put by Lucia Adams

The event concluded with drinks and a chat amongst all attendees and speakers on how they’re working hard to engage and communicate with their people through times of change. It was absolutely amazing to see the community we are building, the atmosphere and enthusiasm in the room, and hear all your wonderful feedback – it really has made us so excited to continue growing in the new year.

A massive thank you to our speakers, Emma Bridger, Carrie Birmingham, Martin Fitzpatrick and Lucia Adams and of course our wonderful partners at Peakon for helping us to put together this brilliant event.

Thanks also to Katie Austin from People Lab who attended the event and has written a  more detailed summary of the event here