When I was in graduate school, we read an article entitled “Implementation: The Hardest Part.” I don’t remember the substance of the article, but I often think about how true the title is. All too often, regardless of what is being implemented, there are roadblocks that are often caused by resistance to adoption of organizational change. A keystone of organizational change that is often overlooked is supporting employees and demonstrating in words and actions a commitment to the employees and their well being. This often results in increased employee resilience and capacity as well as successful adoption of organizational change. A health and wellness program or component incorporated into an organizational adoption methodology can increase the pace, acceptance, and robustness of change in the organization. If your organization finds that change is difficult to implement, that the attitudes and behaviors in the organization do not reflect its core values, or that there is high absenteeism and decreased productivity, the recommendations below may resonate for you.
We have found that when the organizational change includes direct benefits to employees, they are more likely to embrace it; when employees feel better, they are absent less, more productive, and more effective; and when employees are involved and they see their impact on an element of an organizational change, they feel empowered to positively impact the corporation’s bottom line. Linking organizational change and health and wellness increases the likelihood of success for the organization:
- A health and wellness program that follows an organizational change methodology for implementation will help to ensure the adoption and success of the program.
- An organizational change strategy that incorporates employee identified health and wellness components demonstrates to employees that the company is, in fact, committed to their well being and recognizes the value they bring to the organization.
- Research has shown that when employees feel as though their company and leadership are committed to their well being, they are more committed to the success of the organization.
- When healthy practices, such as healthy meetings, work life balance, stress reduction opportunities, and building community, are incorporated into the organizational change plan, the changes are more likely to be understood and effective.
- Even when changes are disruptive and difficult to implement, if employees recognize the benefits and feel that the company cares through a demonstrable focus on their health and wellness, they will be more likely to embrace the change.
Are you in the midst of change? It is 2015, so it is unlikely that any viable company is not. Try the following to see the impact of incremental steps towards effective change adoption:
- Listen – What are the things that are impacting employee morale? Are there quick steps that you could take to address some of the underlying causes?
- Communicate – Have you clearly articulated the value proposition of the impending change? Not just what it means for the organization and its customers but also how it impacts the individual employees and teams.
- Look at the overall change and identify three options for improving employee health and wellness as a part of the change. If it is a physical move, what can be done in the new location to enhance employee health? Is there an opportunity for a walking trail or a meditation room? If it is a software rollout, perhaps provide training in a stress management technique, such as HeartMath™ prior to offering training. If it is an organization wide restructuring, it is a great opportunity to solicit employee input on ways to enhance work life balance.
- Be leaders Model the behavior that you want to see in employees. This includes embracing organizational changes and adopting healthy behaviors.
Break Through Consulting, LLC
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About Wendy Kuhn
I am a strategic planning and implementation consultant with extensive experience helping government, business, and non-profit organizations achieve their vision. I have more than twenty years of experience in management and IT consulting, facilitation, program management, business relationship management, business process redesign and IT Service Management development. I am also a Certified Health Coach and HeartMath™ Mentor.
About Pamela Erskine
Pam Erskine has more than 15 years of leadership experience with a focus on IT and service transformation through clear vision and strategy, process improvement, and purposeful steps to address cultural adoption. Pam is the author of “ITIL and Organizational Change” which covers best practice in gaining acceptance of changes in the workplace and gives practical advice on applying organizational change models to a Service Management initiative. Visit www.adoptitsm.com for additional information