In recent years change in the business environment has become a way of life. Gone are the days when individuals could expect to work in the same business, under the same ownership, with the same people, and the same customer base for the whole of their career. Everyone is impacted by change. As the degree of change increases, people who manage others, no matter what their title, are in a position to influence the process and outcomes of change.
Most organizational change efforts take longer and cost more money than leaders and managers anticipate. In fact, research shows that 70% of all transformations fail.
A weak culture that isn’t aligned with the mission, lack of participation and buy-in, under-communicating a powerful vision, over-communicating a poor vision, not enough training or resources, and so on. But one very critical roadblock standing in the way of bringing a change is what is called as change battle fatigue.
Change battle fatigue is the result of many elements such as past failures plaguing the minds of employees and the sacrifices made during the arduous change process. When a transformation is poorly led, fatigue can set in quickly. Hence people often get discouraged and eventually give up. Even when companies make great strides during building a change culture and preparing for the change battle, fatigue can derail even the most valiant efforts for change.
When change efforts have failed in the past, people often grow cynical. They start to mutter under their breath, “Here we go again” or “Here comes another flavour of the month.” or, as one middle manager once told me, “We’re lying low until this fad blows over.”
Four conditions for changing mind-sets
Employees will alter their mind-sets only if they see the point of the change and agree with it. The surrounding structures (reward and recognition systems, for example) must be in tune with the new behavior. Employees must have the skills to do what it requires. Finally, they must see people they respect. Each of these conditions is realized independently together they add up to a way of changing the behavior of people in organizations by changing attitudes.
A purpose to believe in
Anyone leading a major change program must take the time to think through its "story"—what makes it worth undertaking—and to explain that story to all of the people involved in making change happen, so that their contributions make sense to them as individuals.
Organizational designers broadly agree that reporting structures, management and operational processes, and measurement procedures—setting targets, measuring performance, and granting financial and non financial rewards—must be consistent with the behaviour that people are asked to embrace. When a company’s goals for new behaviour are not reinforced, employees are less likely to adopt it consistently; if managers are urged to spend more time coaching junior staff, for instance, but coaching doesn’t figure in the performance scorecards of managers, they are not likely to bother.
The skills required for change
How adults best be equipped with the skills they need to make relevant changes in behaviour? First, give them time. This means that you can’t teach everything there is to know about a subject in one session, better to break down the formal teaching into chunks, with time for the learners to reflect, experiment, and apply the new principles. Large-scale change happens only in steps.
Consistent role models
In organizations, people model their behaviour on "significant others" those they see in positions of influence. People in different functions or levels choose different role models—a founding partner, trade union representative, or the highest-earning sales rep. So to change behaviour, it isn’t enough to ensure that people at the top are in line with the new ways of working, role models at every level must "walk the talk."
It is neither easy nor straightforward to improve a company’s performance through a comprehensive program to change the behaviour of employees by changing their mind-sets. No company should try to do so without first exhausting less disruptive alternatives for attaining the business outcomes. Sometimes tactical moves will be enough, new practices can be introduced without completely rethinking the corporate culture. But if the only way for a company to reach a higher plane of performance is to alter the way its people think and act, it will need to create the above conditions for achieving sustained change.
We at Employwise help you with such initiatives in becoming an evolved and vibrant workplace by breaking the functional silos.
Picture the scene. You have fresh-faced graduate working alongside a 60-year-old work colleague on the same project. These two employees work for the same employer but have very different expectations and views of the workplace.
We’re now facing a workplace where in theory, many employers could have employees ranging from 18 to 80 in the workplace. This has huge implications for employers in terms of managing the needs and expectations of Millennials, Generation X and the Baby Boomers.
Four generations are in the work force. Ranging from septuagenarians to 20-something recent college graduates, your company may experience the challenges posed by having so many different sets of values, expectations and work styles in the workplace.
Overview of the Generations
Many workplaces are facing the challenge of employing a range of generations that encompass Veterans (1939-1947), Baby Boomers (1948-1963), Generation X (1964-1978) and Millennials(1979-1991)
One of the biggest challenges facing leaders will be managing an employee age profile which in theory could range from 18 to 80
Among the challenges facing managers today is effectively dealing with a diverse workforce. This diversity is not limited to gender, religion, ethnicity, and racial background it also relates to the various generational values found in the workplace today
Having employees of different ages working side by side is nothing new. But a heightened focus on generational differences in recent years has altered the conversation. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1965, and known for their self-involved, career-oriented, goal-driven attitudes, have been the dominant players for the past three decades. But millennials are surging into the workforce with a decidedly different set of experiences and needs, and much has been written about the clashing characteristics of these two groups. Sandwiched in between are the Gen Xers, who already hold some leadership positions and are staking out territory for more.
Each generation is defined by a set of stereotypes that emerge from some clear truths. Millennials in particular are saddled with a raft of traits, both good and bad, that have framed the discussion. They are the most-educated generation, the most technically savvy and the most socially conscious. Like the baby boomers, they are considered self-centered—but they differ in several notable ways: They are impatient, for example, and in need of constant feedback and hand-holding, residue from being raised by overly protective parents. The knock on millennials is that they will abandon jobs quickly if their needs are not met. But there is disagreement among the experts over how much the generational differences matter in terms of employee engagement.
Benefits of the Multigeneration Work Team
There are several benefits to be gained by the whole organization when a multigenerational team works well together. A positive, inclusive work culture can lead to business success by enhancing recruitment, retention and profitability.
Crossing the Generational Divide
At the companies that are the most focused on the engagement issue, the effort pays off with cross-pollination among the generations, the best way for senior leaders to engage employees across generations is to take key steps for managing an age-diverse workforce:
In the quest for higher levels of engagement across the organization, the key is leveraging the full capacity of the multigenerational workforce rather than segmenting it based on age affiliation.
In the end most companies are trying to answer the question ‘What engages and satisfies employees at all levels of the organization, regardless of their generational group?”
We at Employwise help you with such initiatives in becoming an evolved and vibrant work place by breaking the functional silos and engaging across all levels of people and hierarchy !
A professor in a program on leadership elicited a lot of laughs by telling a joke: “A CEO was asked how many people work in his company: ‘About half of them,’ he responded.” Post session, several participants put a more serious face on the problem when, while chatting, they bemoaned the fact that, in their organization, a significant number of people had mentally “checked out.”
CEOs and managers are very concerned about a waste of time, effort and resources in their organizations. Reason is simple: If people are not engaged, how can these leaders attain business objectives critical to improving organizational performance?
Organizations realize that a ‘satisfied’ employee may not necessarily be the ‘best’ employee in terms of loyalty and productivity. Only an ‘engaged employee’ who is intellectually and emotionally bound with the organization and feels passionately about its goals. He goes the extra mile to drive the business. Moreover, in times when loyalty is losing ground, employee engagement is a powerful retention strategy.
Global studies recommend three basic aspects of employee engagement –
- Employees and their own distinctive psychological makeup and experience;
- Employers and their capability to create conditions to promote employee engagement;
- Interaction between employees at all ranks.
Higher levels of engagement based on fundamental beliefs :
1. Successful execution of any business strategy - Engaged workforce is your only true competitive advantage. It is impossible to copy and without it, execution of most initiatives becomes difficult.
2. Engagement is not a short-term initiative. Takes years of steady progress to build high levels of engagement, and without the proper care and feeding, these gains can wither and fall away.
3. Engagement must be driven from the top - Engagement is a business imperative, NOT HR initiative, though HR should be a key player in driving it. Support from the top means senior leaders must be highly engaged themselves. It’s hard to imagine highly engaged employees without highly engaged leaders.
4. No one impacts the state of engagement more than an employee’s immediate leader. Show us a highly engaged team, and there’s a strong likelihood of a leader who is coaching for success, setting clear goals, empowering others, providing open and honest feedback, and making the winners feel valued.
5. Measuring engagement and demonstrating its business impact is crucial, but it’s only a small part of winning the battle. Far too many organizations pour hundreds of thousands of dollars measuring and re-measuring engagement, leaving little energy or budget for actually improving engagement levels. Keep engagement measures simple and cost effective.
6. Engagement means reaching the heart. Highly engaged employees give that extra effort because they care. And, they care because they feel someone is caring for them. A vice president for customer service insists that his managers really get to know the individuals on their teams as people, not just employees. This sends a powerful message to employees that the organization understands and appreciates that they have a life outside work.
Five indicators of dis-engagement taking its hold :
--> Conflict is avoided, not resolved
--> Procrastination rules and decisions are not taken promptly
--> Important business information is shared round the water cooler rather than at official meetings
--> Correct procedure is more important than success
--> People fail to make their expectations clear and then resent if not met
Five features of an engaged workforce :
- Employees are loyal - they talk to each other rather than about each other
- Both leaders and individuals challenge each other openly
- People are accountable for their actions and take pride in their contribution to success
- Individuals support organization’s brand and work to deliver on what the company promises
- Mistakes are regarded as inevitable on the road to experience
Six ways to promote employee engagement :
--> Tap into the wealth of experience and ability of the workforce
--> Establish recognition and rewards for effective work, that are merit-based, emotionally satisfying and not always financial
--> Face up to change and invest in developing employees who can adapt skills accordingly
--> Balance top, down and bottom-up leadership conducive to optimal performance
--> Never assume a sent message as received – use more than one approach to communicate
Though HR is believed to be the custodian of employee engagement and it takes initiative and drives constant employee engagement programs, in the ever-evolving industry, employee engagement is NO longer a prerogative of HR but also of organizational leadership. Every leader has own style of engaging with employees to achieve the best results.
EmployWise hire-to-retire HR software solution that takes care of the entire employee life-cycle and has built-in features to drive constant employee engagement. Its Performance Management and Learning & Development modules focuses on building a more engaged workforce by means of continuous trainings, job rotations, skill upgradation, flexibility in working hours, competency mapping, rewards and recognition for effective work.
In order to motivate employees to give their best, their efforts need to be constantly recognized and rewarded. Thus, EmployWise rewards and recognition provides for creative communications, peer-to-peer nomination, milestone awards, on-the-spot recognition, certificates and awards, budgeting and performance reporting. EmployWise believes engaged employees not only lead to higher productivity and revenue but also lead to greater customer satisfaction and enhanced brand image. Engaged workforce is at the core of our software solution.
An HR System You Can Build-As-You-Go