Banner Default Blog

Designing a workforce built for change

Designing A Workforce Built For Change

by Charlotte Gurney

Given the seismic upheaval we have seen over the past 12 months, integrating resilience to change has become even more crucial for every workforce today. Leaders face plenty of challenges when designing a workforce built for change, from employee resistance to issues with managing change initiatives. These are some of the steps that will be relevant to every organization looking to create a workforce able to embrace change on an ongoing basis.

Laying the groundwork for a culture of change

Adjust internal structures to promote change. From policies and processes to rules and rewards, refocusing these to promote change can lay the groundwork for a more versatile and agile workforce.

Create responsibility on an individual level. As well as goals and objectives for teams and managers, individuals also need to be clear on what is expected of them if they’re going to buy into change. Increased accountability promotes engagement and encourages individuals to take responsibility.

Provide people with data - including metrics. Treating employees as if they have no say in change won’t help with buy-in. If you want your workforce to be optimized for change it needs to be well informed, provided with answers to questions and information as well as easy to understand, relevant metrics.

Encourage openness on the topic of change. Giving people more opportunities to voice their opinions can help to avoid conflict situations and foster a sense of coherence. The more people are able to speak up and voice opinions the more valued they will feel.

Make sure you’re aware of the realities of change for those in your workforce. Whether it’s increased workload or new technology to get used to, it's essential that you’re plugged into the impact of change from your employees’ perspective.

Becoming permanently change-capable

Any organization can adapt more easily to change with these regular practices:
* Make sure employees are always up to date with the business realities that could drive change.
* Provide the information and data to show how change could work and why it’s beneficial.
* Create change champions within the business to lead the way.
* Foster an environment in which experimentation is valued and embracing failure is just part of the process.
* Encourage feedback from your workforce so you know where they are and so employees feel understood.
* Be creative when it comes to finding
​or re-assigning resources - but make sure your approach is coordinated.

* Review systems, practices and policies so that they support change and don’t create confusion.
* Where there is resistance, don’t ignore it, respond to it instead.
* Make sure everyone at executive level is on board.

4 common problems to look out for:

1. Focusing too much on strategy and vision rather than the impact of change on day-to-day activity.
2. Not reaching out to employees who are going to be most affected.
3. Employee resistance stemming from a lack of buy-in.
4. Getting overwhelmed by the data and forgetting the human aspects of the change.

For many organizations, designing a workforce built for change is going to involve some big shifts - but the eventual outcomes will be worth it.