05 Apr How to use change management to drive company culture
by Kevin Melfi
Company culture is an easy buzzword to throw around, but what does it actually mean? According to several studies, companies that invest in their people are the ones that have the most effective employee performance, so finding the right ways to invest in your most critical resource—your people—is paramount to continued business success.
One key area you can invest in your people is with change management—a dedicated methodology and team for making enterprise-wide changes easier and more approachable by the employees at large. Change management at Simplus, specifically, is all about navigating the human side of change. It’s one thing to document all the technical changes and impact on finances or KPIs, but it’s another thing altogether to make sure your pie-in-the-sky projects actually land with your team.
Change management—or investing in your employee development—can lead to an 11 percent increase in profitability as well as a culture that is twice as likely to retain employees for the long haul. But in a business landscape that is changing every day, increasingly remote, and subject to a volatile market and corporate layoffs, you may hesitate at the thought of putting money towards employee development. But that’s exactly where it should go to keep your company strong through an economic storm. And here are three reasons why:
Drive stronger team relationships both on- and off-screen
The new remote work environment is pushing companies to reconcile a means of supporting employees that could be anywhere anytime. Workplace Analytics reported that 77 percent of the workforce would like to work from home at least once a week, even when the pandemic is over. But engaging hybrid teams that are a mix of at-home on a screen and in-person at the office can be a challenge for management.
Whether remote or in-person, the key is to make sure not only the loudest voices lead the conversation. Business leaders and change managers need to pay attention to the nonverbal cues and take note of what employees aren’t saying as much and find ways to reach out to those employees to foster greater collaboration. Avoid the ease of only focusing on the most frequent contributors.
And while you’re at it reaching out individually to foster that collaboration, spend a little extra time getting to know your employees. Experts have shown that managers who know a little bit about their employees’ personal and professional interests yield better results because their leadership approach is approachable and flexible. This also makes it easier to manage change within the organization as you connect with your team on an individual level, acknowledging their concerns or hesitations and being transparent about the goals for any given project.
Leverage emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to correctly identify and effectively manage your own or others’ emotions. This doesn’t mean regulating emotions in the workplace through minimizing or invalidating for the sake of comfort. Instead, emotional intelligence in a work environment means taking greater care to consider how our actions or the actions of others may come across to those around us. It also means being sympathetic with the different ways emotions may manifest themselves during work meetings. Sometimes, this can be difficult, especially when tough decisions have to be made by managers. Using that emotional intelligence, you can explain the rationale behind tough decisions in a transparent, sympathetic manner, easing the impact on employee morale.
Exercises in workplace emotional intelligence like this are a key indicator of skilled leaders, and applying this skill every day will only make for stronger leaders and stronger teams. Research suggests that as much as 75 percent of an individual’s success at work can be attributed to emotional intelligence. That’s why hiring employees with strong characters and personalities may be more critical than hiring a mere list of technical skills—employees with high emotional intelligence can be trained with those skills and adapt to organizational changes more easily.
Use that emotional intelligence to empower employees
At Simplus, change management is all about honing emotional intelligence skills. Our change managers develop the organizations and teams they work with by listening and empowering individuals with the understanding, training, and direction they need to navigate new processes, foreign technologies, or shifts in day-to-day operations. Studies have shown that our natural inclination in the brain is to keep our analytic and empathetic tendencies at odds and suppressing one another. In other words, it’s not easy for the everyday professional to both make strategic business decisions AND keep employee wellbeing a key priority. But, it can be done. To overcome our brain’s wiring, we have to make very deliberate decisions to use both skill sets in a single circumstance. Change managers at Simplus strive to find the marriage between project goals and people goals.
Change managers at Simplus are a diverse group of skilled professionals, trained in the science of organizational change management and experienced with years of balancing the human and technical side of enterprise changes. We leverage emotional intelligence to put the people side of change first, making sure eventual adoption and long-term acceptance are strong so you retain valued talent even through the biggest transformations.
Having used our change management experience in a variety of settings for organizations around the globe and across multiple industries, our team knows how to not just push the technical success of your digital transformation forward, but how to also invest in your people. Because your project is nothing if it doesn’t have people to carry it through to ultimate success.
Kevin is a Senior Consultant with our Change Management practice here at Simplus. Kevin has experience across multiple industries and over 16 years of combined CRM experience, including 11 years of experience working in the Salesforce ecosystem and with multiple CPQ platforms. He has been the administrator and product owner on several CPQ and Salesforce projects. Because of this, he understands what clients go through before, during, and after a consulting engagement. Kevin’s focus is always on providing value and accomplishing his clients’ business objectives so that they are successful within their organization.