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A 6-step plan for Sustaining Loyalty in Times of Change and Motivating our People

Evolution is constant in today’s business world. I purposely refer to ‘evolution’ because in my experience using the word ‘change’ causes around 75% of the population to feel negative rather than embracing the potential opportunity. ‘Change’ often drives in resistance, fear and our people feeling out of control.

My approach, developed during 30 years in the corporate world, is based on ensuring we take our people with us as the business evolves. As a consultant, I regularly support businesses through transformation programmes and outplacement scenarios. I find that organisations are pretty good at focusing on the change purpose, the business case, ROI and implementation plan. However, I also find that businesses don’t always plan so well for life after that change - the next steps, people engagement and supporting the change survivors.

Next Steps Consulting use a 6-step plan to support businesses with people engagement during times of change. The outline is below - do get in touch if you want to understand more about our approach.

1. Create the Vision of the future – Helping our people understand what the future will look like is vital, in doing that we have to keep front of mind the purpose and the reason for change. Our people need to understand the role they have to play in this vision and to engage with the strategy

2. Align the Vision with Organisational Values & Culture – Once the Vision is established, it is important to work with the leadership teams and their people to define or re-examine the Corporate Values. These core values are the fundamental beliefs upon which the business and its behaviours are based. They are the guiding principles that the business uses to manage its internal relationships “How we get things done around here” and its external customer relationships. Once locked down, these values should then be tightly bound into the organisational, team and individual goals.

3. Involve our people – Key to sustaining loyalty in times of change is making sure that we engage, inform and create the future together with our people. We must take them on the journey with us so they understand that we all have roles to play in the future organisation.

4. Seek feedback & listen – We need to engage to understand how our people feel and ensure we don’t lose sight of the opportunities and ideas they have - there are normally some absolutely ‘golden nuggets’ within our teams if we just listen and look out for them.

5. Develop the leaders to lead in line with defined organisational culture & behaviours - Great leaders who have the trust of their teams, combined with transparency and honesty, drive huge organisational benefits. Those benefits include not just bottom-line gains, but create people who feel valued and are motivated to give more than we ever expected.

6. Celebrate success - Understand why and how we have achieved great results, then reward great performance & behaviours that are aligned to what we seek to be. Our people all want to be valued as we do and we need to recognise that.

Without the right focus, change can so easily lead to demotivation and staff turnover. It’s easy to get the people agenda wrong and hugely difficult to put right. It is crucial that organisations don’t lose sight of the sense of ‘we are all in this together’, top down bottom up. Collaboration and co-creation to achieve Organisational Alignment is critical. If we don’t take our people with us on the journey there is every chance that we will lose them, it’s that simple.

In summary, the old adage ‘Right People, Right Place, Right Time, Doing the Right Things in a motivated way’ is even more business critical in times of change.

Gaye Morris, Chair & Executive Coach, Next Steps Consulting.

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