Overlooking the inclusive experience design of a robust change management strategy is a common pitfall that even the biggest of corporations can experience. Implementing change management strategies before the change has occurred ensures that your organization survives during turbulent times. But adopting these strategies is a challenge in itself. It requires leadership, communication, and cooperation from everybody in your organization. 

Though leading organizational change can be a difficult task, a systematic approach is key to successfully implementing change initiatives and your approach should consider a set of key principles. 

These principles will help you to understand the foundation for successful change and mitigate the possibility of any organizational resistance that can derail progress on change initiatives. They will also help you to sustain inclusive employee experiences throughout times of change.         

What is change management? 

Before we dive into the key principles behind leading organizational change, let’s define change management. 

At its core, change management is a practice that encourages organizations to adopt a systematic approach to change. 

The benefits of change management can be seen in organizations that successfully adapted to and survived the challenges of the pandemic. But having a systematic approach isn’t just useful for imperative changes.

Sometimes, change initiatives that seem simple at the surface level can be the most difficult to complete successfully. This is more often than not because leaders aren’t prepared for the trials and tribulations of change. 

The key principles behind leading organizational change 

To help you get started developing a change management strategy that will meet your organizational needs, we’ve compiled the key principles behind leading organizational change and actions that you can take for success: 

1. Be clear on your vision and impact ambition 

It’s hard to have a vision for change if it’s unexpected, but for all other types of change (i.e., organizational-wide change and transformational change) you have the advantage of being able to plan ahead and solidify a clear vision that you can easily communicate to others. 

2. Provide employee support 

It’s critical to provide your employees with support throughout any organizational transitions as they will be the ones who will feel the most direct effects of the change. 

Not only does providing employee support ensure that your organization operates smoothly with minimal conflict as you complete the inclusive change initiative, but openly showing and reminding your employees of support can help to speed up the change. 

This is because the more support you show your employees, the more likely they are to trust you and the vision that you have. 

3. Create a sense of urgency 

A sense of urgency is the catalyst for any major change in your organization. Without a sense of urgency, you’ll struggle to get buy-ins from key stakeholders and without these buy-ins, your desired change won’t happen. 

Though the importance of the change initiative may not be abundantly clear from the beginning it’s up to you as the leader to present it as such. 

Do this by presenting a compelling narrative to stakeholders with a particular focus on the issues that could arise should the change not come into effect. 

However, make sure that you have data and competitive analysis to back up your claims as this will make your narrative more convincing. 

4. Encourage accountability in each department

Inclusive organization-wide change will touch each department differently. Therefore, you should ensure that each team is aware of the change and you should encourage them to take accountability for engagement or lack thereof. 

Make sure that each team has the foundations in place to communicate inclusive change effectively. This includes giving them a chance to provide honest feedback on inclusive change initiatives and how positively they have impacted departments. 

Fundamentally, holding each team accountable for change will make your employees feel as though they have ownership which will again make for a much smoother transition as they will be more invested in making the change happen. 

5. Measure and reinforce the inclusive change 

Inclusive change doesn’t happen overnight. For you, this means two things: 

  1. It will take a while for you to see the true impact of the ambition. 
  2. Your employees likely won’t follow the inclusive change experience design right  away 

With these two factors in mind, when you develop your inclusive change management strategy you need to ensure that it accounts for employee resistance and that you have tactics to handle objectives within your organization. 

You’ll also want to measure the change to ensure that transformation has had the impact that you initially wanted when you first carved out your vision. 

Here are some key inclusive change management metrics that you’ll want to keep track of to measure change effectively: 

  • Employee readiness assessment results
  • Employee feedback
  • Employee satisfaction survey results 
  • Inclusive Experience Design benefits realization and ROI 

6. Celebrate milestones 

As we’ve alluded to, change, especially big change, is often a slow process and it’s hard to see the direct effect it has on your organization straight away.

Consequently, your employees may lose momentum or interest in the change, especially if it is a particularly big adjustment. 

One of the most effective ways to enforce change over a long period of time is to celebrate  milestones or ‘short-term wins.’

Not only will your broadcasts serve as a reminder of the change but stakeholders and employees will be able to see first-hand concrete evidence of your vision that they initially bought into coming to life.

Ready for inclusive change?

When implementing inclusive change you need to consider how your vision will impact all members of staff as your employees will be the ones who feel the effects of change initiatives the most. 

As inclusive experience design becomes more important in the modern-day workplace, you especially need to ensure that all members of staff will benefit from the change. 

Our consulting and advisory services are for leaders who want to build a culturally inclusive experience at scale. Learn more about our inclusive employee experience design (IEX) services