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Change Management: How to Adapt to Change at Work
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Change Management: How to Adapt to Change at Work

One Minute Takeaway

  • In today’s rapidly changing work environment, leaders must navigate and manage change, which can be challenging.
  • Even with knowledge and desire for change, teams may struggle to adapt due to psychological, physical, or intellectual fears.
  • It’s important to use proactive learning and relevant activities to prepare leaders to offer psychological safety, empathy, compassion, and effective communication in times of change.

Change is never easy. Layer in the fact that our personal and professional lives have been in flux for the past few years, and it’s no surprise that the resistance zone to change at work—even positive change—is more deeply seated than ever.

Change seems to be the only constant in a world that’s debating work from home, hybrid, and in-office models, dealing with the great resignation, and battling for the best talent. Leaders are the human center of your company, and leading change while also being the recipient is an extra challenge.

What techniques can you use to help your team navigate change? How can you prepare yourself and management to make specific changes while also reducing resistance in the rest of the workforce?

Applying Prosci’s ADKAR Change Management Model to Your Organization

Let’s start with getting you and your management team ready to tackle change head-on.

Enter ADKAR, the goal-oriented model by Prosci, the global leader in change management. Each step in the model builds like a staircase, leading you up to the most positive results.

Start with Awareness

Without a doubt, you have hundreds of examples of times that miscommunication caused issues in the workplace. Trying to facilitate openness to change requires extra care while communicating awareness and understanding of the “why.” What’s the “why” behind what sparked the need for change, and why is now the right time? Make explaining the “why” a priority so that others can gain insight into the need for change. It’s the first step to gaining buy-in.

Build the Desire for Change

Just because someone’s aware of something doesn’t mean they want to do anything about it. Building a desire or motivation for change comes down to adjusting the mindset around it. Presenting the shift as an opportunity versus a threat is essential. Showing employees the roadmap and explaining the plan will prepare them and make the positive benefits feel tangible.

Give People the Knowledge They Need

Making a change happen requires proper skills, behaviors, processes, and tools. Equipping your workforce with the knowledge to make change possible isn’t easy with limited time and resources. Think about how you can scale knowledge. A playbook for each change you’re implementing comes in handy to provide a level-setting of knowledge across your company.

Enhance Your Team’s Ability to Act & Adapt

Let’s say we’re aware that we’ve fallen off the health bandwagon over the last few months and now have the desire to feel good again. We know that healthy eating and regular exercise are crucial to maintaining wellness. But with everything else going on, we’re so overwhelmed that our ability to change our habits seems to be missing. Even when your team understands why a change is worthwhile, has the desire to make it happen, and knows how to do it, some psychological, physical, or intellectual fear can block them and keep them at a standstill. Like implementing healthier habits, moving through this mindset requires practice, coaching, and small, defined steps to help them succeed.

Reinforce Change Consistently.

Reverting to the status quo is so easy. When making a change, you might experience an initial surge of enthusiasm or excitement, but people often slide right back into their comfort zone. Making a change stick isn’t possible without constant reinforcement. Recognizing and celebrating change with accountability keeps it going. Focusing on the positive consequences and clarifying how this one change plays into the bigger picture helps maintain momentum.

Prepare, Equip, and Support Your Team Through Change

Professionals who worked on making a change in their workplaces could have avoided nearly 45% of the resistanceif they had applied solid change management practices (Prosci). Ensuring your teams feel prepared, equipped, and supported during a big change is key to helping employees adapt. But with limited time and resources, how can you possibly help each individual?

Leadership Development for the Ever-Changing Workplace

The simplest way to unlock your team’s full potential and provide them with the support they need is with an all-encompassing leadership development platform.

Paycor uses proactive learning with relevant and engaging activities to create organizational impact at scale. By developing the human-centered mindsets for leaders in your company, you can be assured that they’ll be prepared to provide psychological safety, use empathy and compassion, and listen and communicate to help encourage positive organizational change.