Implementing change is tough in businesses, particularly in traditional organisations where there’s a history of doing things a certain way, or employees might be resistant to the idea of change. It can also be tough to roll out new processes in multinational corporations that have locations all over the globe.
While it’s difficult, to say the least, it’s also often necessary to implement policy change. Companies often have to introduce procedural change as part of reorganisation efforts or as part of new strategies and objectives. An example might be the introduction of a new expense policy paired with the rollout of expense management software. Employees may be resistant to these changes if they’re used to doing things a certain way, which is why it’s up to company leadership to get employee buy-in by being strategic in how changes are introduced.
Here are some tips to help make the process simpler and more efficient…
Put It In Writing
It’s actually pretty surprising to see many companies including large corporations don’t have major policies and procedures in writing. It’s important to put everything in writing because it makes it more official, it clears up any misconceptions or confusion on the part of employees, and it’s just good business practice to put all pertinent policies in written form. When you have a written policy, whether it’s new or old, it makes it easier to enforce, and it takes away the opportunity for any grey areas. When you’re writing a new policy, be as specific as possible.
SHRM has outlined some of the components that should be involved in the creation of newly developed policies. They recommend that first written policies include a purpose statement highlighting why the changes will be introduced, and this should be looked at as a marketing tool. You’re trying to win people over to your way of thinking with the purpose statement. Then, the policy can move onto to the specifics which will include the regulations, requirements, and standards that are being introduced.
That can move into the implementation section which highlights who’s responsible for carrying out what elements of the new policy, and then you should include an effective date. If it’s a really massive policy change or a different way of doing things you might consider using a phased-in system of effective dates. For example, part one of the policy would go into effect on xx/xx; part two could be a month from that date and so on.
Get Employee Buy-In
You don’t want your employees to be resistant to change. You want them to be all-in, and this can occur when you work on alleviating the precursors of resistance, such as fear. Start by highlighting the benefits that your employees will see in their daily work lives as a result of the policies. With the example of introducing the new expense management software and policies, explain to employees how much simpler it will make their report submission and their work-related travel. Finally, you should also reinforce the policies in a positive way, and ensure that you’re reaching across departments to get employees involved.