by CathyAnn Sarra, Principal & Managing Partner ~ SOCii Media Marketing
I was very humbled when asked from a colleague that she would like to include some of my insight about change management at an upcoming event she will be a keynote speaker. It got me thinking about a project...For an IT Solutions & Professional Services Firm. I was hired to run task force to implement new process and change for a recruiting department to incorporate social media into their day-to-day process.
I found that the majority of businesses that are in need of change have a less than favorable view of their culture, and those views of what an organization values differ drastically between executives and employees. The question is, how do you align views and improve the environment so change can occur?
Communication is key
The way I start this process is by communication…”true communication”! Introducing any new process you must get to the fundamental root of what is that gap between executives and employees. “Finding the gap is the starting point for change”.
I found successful change happens when employees feel that it is safe place to ask for clarity about company values. I became that safe place for both employees and executives and was actually nicknamed “The Vault.” I expressed to the executives that they need to be clear with their messages about what they truly believe will drive performance. I found executives tend to think employees will not open up, but given the right safe space to communicate, I’ve seen employees welcome the opportunity to share their voice and views. When the executives truly listened, the employees were surprisingly honest. It is in this moment they began the process of change. Change must come from a sense of “together thinking."
How Culture Change Occurs
I found that culture change occurred when executives went through some training in communication skills. I asked the executives to utilize their skills to encourage their teams to speak up as well as hold people accountable. Improvement also occurred when executives participated in personal branding and interpersonal skills training. Executives became better communicators with managing their teams, as well as teaching some of their skills to employees. This created a new start to ease into change and create a healthy culture, which fostered a successful social media program.
Questions I Ask Executives
- What are your business reasons for change?
- What are the behaviors that make the biggest difference in performance?
- Before you can change…where do you stand with your employees?
- Do you really listen?
- How do you take action to show you have listened?
Building trust and sincere effort to make long-term changes is key to keeping employees happy, involved, believers and more likely to change their own behavior when new processes are introduced.
I enjoyed sharing some of my expertise and insights into change management. If you require consulting services please do not hesitate to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on twitter @csarra_socii and let’s LinkedIn!