The six secrets of change management will help you tackle fear head-on and produce the kind of results you’re looking for in service globalization.
The greatest challenge in services globalization comes from people.” That’s what an HR executive told me the other day about her experience managing change in services globalization. Because most people are afraid of change, managing your employees’ relationships to the changes that come with services globalization is key to the success of your initiative.
Quality pioneer W. Edwards Deming said, “An organizational culture dominated by fear is incapable of serious change.” There are six steps to creating an
organizational culture that is not dominated by fear and is capable of successfully working through serious change.
• Jointly Identify Business Problems and Solutions. Let employees at all levels get involved in identifying business problems. Educate them about the competitive pressures of your industry and the state of the company’s affairs. Then let your employees be part of a collaborative effort to create a solution to those business problems.
If your employees are engaged in the process of identifying a solution, they will be less likely to resist it. They will more likely recognize how necessary services globalization is for the future health of the company. And your initiative will more likely be successful.
• Develop a Shared Change Vision, and Communicate Relentlessly. Allow your employees to be involved in defining your company’s future. Once you’ve created a vision for the future, communicate it relentlessly. Educating your employees about your initiative through relentless communication is your biggest chance at winning them over. To do that:
• Specify the nature of the change initiative. Tell your employees what they can expect to happen to them and to their peers during the globalization initiative.
• Be honest about the scope of the change. Explain how it will affect your employees. If your employees believe that you’re being honest, even if you’re relaying news about job losses, they’ll be less likely to engage in fearful speculation.
• Explain and measure success. Set clear expectations for the results of each stage of your initiative, and celebrate when you meet those expectations. Offer incentives for your employees to help the initiative succeed.
• Use different communication styles. E-mails, events, newsletters, employee meetings, interactive presentations, and floor announcements are all ways to communicate with your employees. Use them all. Also, mix in communication from employees’ direct managers with communication from the change management team leaders and C-level executives.
• Deliver a consistent message. With communication coming from managers, team leaders, and C-level executives, make sure that the communication is consistent. Repeat the message of how the change will affect your employees and why the change is necessary.
Open the door to feedback. Communication should go two ways, so be receptive to employee feedback. When feasible, act on the feedback.
• Identify Change Leaders, and Reduce the Hierarchical Structure. Buy-in from the company’s top executives is crucial; if the C-suite is not on board, why should other employees be? But to really get through to your rank-and-file employees, create a change leadership team that is a mix of executives, middle managers, team leaders, and subject matter experts so your employees feel like they’re being led by their peers.
• Focus on Results. Create milestones for each important phase of the initiative and focus on them. Communicate how each milestone brings the company a step closer to the shared vision of the future. And offer rewards and incentives for employees to help get you to each milestone.
• Let Change Spread. The readiness for change within your organization probably won’t be evenly spread; some units will be more ready than others. Begin the services globalization initiative in those units most likely to succeed. Nothing breeds success like success.
• Govern and Monitor Change. Once your globalization initiative takes hold, keep up the momentum by governing and monitoring change. Keep everyone focused on the same metrics by institutionalizing a performance measurement system.
The greatest challenge in services globalization will come from your employees. So, to increase the likelihood that they will be on board with you in guiding the initiative to success, get rid of the culture of fear by empowering your employees to be part of the change process.