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Mastering Change Agility with Employee Experience

Are your employees prepared to rapidly and effectively navigate change?

Our recent Houston Executive Roundtable brought together a diverse group of change management executives and thought leaders to discuss change saturation. They discussed what it means to deliver on the promise of employee experience and the value-creation of being change agile. Below are key takeaways from the discussion.

Leaders across industries are overhauling legacy processes and adopting new technologies to boost agile capabilities. The benefits of agile are widely known to executives, like faster ROI and reduced risk of project failure. Although many executives have embraced agile strategies, the success of agile execution is largely dependent on an organization’s employees.

Agility is, unfortunately, not a skill people learn overnight. When organizations move faster than their employees, disruption can spark a variety of reactions, from stress to disengagement. To combat the negative effects of change, start by putting your employee experience at the center of your change strategy. By understanding the range of interactions that employees have within your organizational structure and culture, you can proactively identify negative reactions to change that would prevent employees from seeing opportunities further downstream.

Fostering an agile culture requires employees to nurture a high degree of resiliency, which is a positive energy to drive change across the employee experience. If teams are resilient, they recognize their reactions to change and embrace opportunities for the future. When leading change with agility and resiliency, organizations should emphasize support and communication — not compliance.

Below are three tactics for achieving a successful transformation:

1. Focus on purpose when changing employee experience

Change is meaningful when it connects to our values, needs, and goals. Within an agile culture, employees are empowered to share innovations and learnings rather than fit the status quo. Effective agile leadership empowers employees at the intersection of their passions and customer-centric outcomes. Organizations can achieve agile role creation through transparent communication.

2. Share data cross-functionally

It is easy to glean what matters to an organization when you can see what is being measured across departments and silos. Give employees an opportunity to see the momentum of your change strategy through data visibility and transparency. Often, goals vary across functional areas of expertise, making it difficult for individuals to prioritize activities outside of departmental objectives. Identify opportunities across the employee journey to recognize and incentivize cross-functional collaboration, and communicate a shared vision for growth.

3. Understand the journey is a series of sprints within a marathon

Throughout the agile journey, there are many starts, stops, breaks, and sprints. Resilience is the catalyst that drives teams to reshape their processes, tools, and relationships for the growth of the organization. Focus on building a realistic roadmap that aligns with your organization’s readiness for change agility and pursue open communication every step of the way. Employees will often get lost in the process and look to their leaders for guidance. As a leader, ask open-ended questions and help people prepare for the changes – before they happen.

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Interested in Change Management?

Join our Future of Work Executive Roundtable in New York City: November 8, 2018: Using People Analytics to Thrive During Change.