By: Dan Polifiore, Training & Change Specialist
Change is such a common part of life these days, that we could almost consider it as the only constant in the modern workplace.
The term ‘Change Management’ has become a bit of a corporate buzz word lately, but do we really embrace change, and manage it as effectively as we think we do?
Something to think about is why people are able to adapt to some changes easily and positively, whereas other changes feel like climbing Everest with a pair of running shoes.
Basic Principle – WIIFM
It all comes down to a basic learning principle – WIIFM. Most workplace trainers know this concept well. For those who don’t, it means “What’s in it for me?” It’s a simple concept that explores the principle that humans struggle to learn or change unless there is a direct and tangible benefit to them.
Real life example of embracing change
An example of embracing change would be when a friend of mine recently took up running. So much so that they registered to a number of marathons and are now training 7 days a week, with clear milestones so they can track and improve their training.
This is a huge change for any person, yet this particular friend has taken it in their stride (no pun intended) and is embracing this change with the sort of excitement I generally display when I see McDonald’s Monopoly has started again.
Personal changes are generally more easily adopted because people have chosen to do it for a very specific reason. They understand the benefits to be gained, and therefore they can see why this change and the effort behind it is valuable.
Change in the workplace
In a modern workplace these benefits aren’t always so clear, nor are they always well communicated to staff.
So, how do we make a change in the workplace something that is accepted by everyone with a healthy dose of excitement rather than negativity and anxiety?
That’s where the concept of WIIFM comes in.
Businesses need to make sure there is a clear and measurable benefit for everyone who is taking part in the change, and these benefits must be communicated clearly, not just the change itself.
Anxiety around change management is especially obvious in the world of unified and intelligent communications. Staff often feel change will only mean that the feeling of ‘always-on’ is going to be even greater now that they have a soft phone and instant messaging.
Ease any anxiety around this concern by instead explaining that through implementing ‘Modern Ways of Working’, staff will have the ability to work from home, but still be as contactable as they would be in the office, providing them with a more flexible working environment.
Good change management begins with knowing your team and knowing how they work, what they value, what will be beneficial to them, and communicating how the change will play to all of these benefits.
Sometimes over complicating the messaging or the change itself can work against you. Take a step back and go back to basics for a while if staff are struggling with adoption. Putting a more targeted, positive spin on communications may make the adoption go more smoothly, and remember that change management is a marathon, not a sprint (pun intended).
Dan is a Training Manager with IComm, servicing our clients through our Change Management offering, Halcyon. He has over 10 years experience in telecommunications and customer service training, with a keen interest in human behaviour and change management. He loves new technology, and is passionate about the modern workplace.