change management, management of change, employees, changing employees, accepting change, empowerment, commitment to change, training, feedback

Few people like change, but in this rapidly changing world, we all have to adapt - business owners and employees alike.
Here's how to get your employees - and other people with whom you are associated - to accept change.

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How to get your employees to accept change

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Few people like change, but in this rapidly changing world, we all have to adapt - business owners and employees alike. Here's how to get your employees - and other people with whom you are associated - to accept change.

For the business owner or senior executive, change is more acceptable because we are much more able to see the reasons for change and the benefits accruing from it.

But employees often do not have the same perspective. Employers must understand this, and must also understand what it is that makes people change their behaviour.

According to David Clutterbuck (in The Power of Empowerment), there are five steps that most people must follow before changing behaviour:

  1. Awareness of the need for change. They can only make genuine changes if they understand the underlying purpose and reason. This is at the intellectual, reasoning level.
  2. Acceptance of the need for change. This is at an emotional level. Real change comes from internalising the problem and accepting responsibility for doing something about it.
  3. Commitment to change. Real change will come when people really believe that they need to change their behaviour
  4. Learning and planning. Absorbing knowledge and new skills - and the opportunity to practise them - needs to be broken down into manageable stages. One suggestion is a three part 'learning model':
    • Purposes - why they are doing the task
    • End results - what they hope to end up with
    • Success criteria - how to measure how successful they have been
  5. Feedback. People need objective information from their managers, colleagues and subordinates to tell them just how and how much they have changed. It's not easy for someone to assess this themselves.
So, if you are in the situation where you do need to get people to change, understanding the psychology behind the change process is vital.


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