When a company is underperforming, change needs to happen quickly. However, depending on the organization, deciding where changes will be implemented and identifying the first few steps can vary greatly and prove to be quite the feat. The best approach? Be transparent with your people.
Enacting drastic changes to turn performance around is never the right answer. Meaningful change requires much more strategy and finesse for it to produce an effective result. Additionally, you need to have support from the rest of your company to be successful —organizational change is not a one-woman show, even for a CEO.
Getting Leadership Buy-In
Without question, the most important initial step in revamping a company is changing the belief system of its leadership. Being the CEO of a company doesn’t mean you don’t need the support of the rest of the leadership team when trying to make changes — you need their full backing, and they need to believe the company needs change as much as you do.
Leadership teams often view incremental improvements as part of a company revamp, but this is a complacent approach to change and likely won’t significantly drive a business forward. As a CEO, it’s your job to ensure that you address change management head-on and refuse to let the C-suite talk you into settling for small improvements. Make your business case, and present to the leadership team exactly how a major organizational shift will ensure the company reaches its long-term goals.
Having everyone on board with change will make for a smoother and more efficient process when it comes time to enact and implement that change across the company. Transparency and communication are key in pivoting a company, and that extends beyond just the C-suite; it’s important to also get buy-in from board members. Additionally, if employees see that leadership is unified in the decision for change, they will feel much more confident in aligning with that change, as well.
Create Personas Within Employee Base
When you’re looking to change, you need to keep the best interests of the company in mind while remaining cognizant of the ways change will affect different groups of people within the company. You must be up front with those groups about what their roles will look like or how they will shift once the company implements a revamp or restructure.
An excellent way to move this initiative forward is to create different personas for all employees, determine how those personas will each be affected by change, and then relay that message to those groups.
For example, take those in middle management — what is their lens, what are their responsibilities, and what does their bonus look like? These are the types of questions to consider when determining the “persona” of the different groups that the change will affect.
Good leaders must put themselves in their workers’ shoes and consider everything that could possibly impact each role if the company changes its direction or vision. From there, it’s important to develop messaging specific to each persona so that you have immediate answers regarding how your employees’ roles might be affected, whether they may be enhanced or minimized, how compensation might be impacted, and how the company plans to upskill the most affected employees.
This is an especially important conversation and message for groups that might be eliminated a restructure, and it must be addressed head-on with as much transparency as possible. You owe it to employees to be open and up front about their future at the company. But jobs don’t necessarily have to go away with change, so there must be a plan in place that is articulated to your workers about how the company will train and repurpose them in new roles.
To incentivize employees to remain at your company as you embark on companywide transformation, it’s a good idea to paint a clear vision of how the transformation will positively impact them. For instance, offer an opportunity for employees to get new training to enhance their skill sets, which is quite valuable to today’s workers, all of whom are facing an increasingly digital-oriented workplace.
On the flip side, for workers you don’t have a reason to retain or upskill, it’s important to make resources available to them to help them find their next opportunity and to articulate this to them. If there is an opportunity to make a companywide transformation, the best approach is to make sure you’re still watching out for your workers, no matter how they factor into the future of your company.
Transparency is the best policy with any new initiative or organizational change. This way, no one, on any level, will feel alienated from company decisions, which ultimately makes it easier to move forward with those decisions and get positive results.
|Traci Fiatte is responsible for the strategic direction and business operations of multiple Randstad US businesses, including Randstad Professionals, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Tatum, General Staffing, and Strategic Accounts. With nearly two decades of industry experience, Fiatte is recognized for conceptualizing many key sales and operational innovations within Randstad and successfully leading teams to turn those innovations into successful businesses. She has also been recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts on its Global Power 100 Women in Staffing list and the Global 100 Staffing list.|