Top tips to achieve highly productive change


This article is part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s Raise the BAR (Business Adaptability & Resilience) Campaign, sponsored by Western Union Business Solutions. For more campaign content click here. This campaign provides Chamber members with a platform to share learning and inspiration on this agenda. All views and opinions expressed below are those of the author only. 

By Fiona Anderson, Birmingham Committee Member, CIPD

Consider your approach to managing change in your business.

For each of the following

  1. People
  2. Processes
  3. Technology

answer the following:

What % of your time

What % of your budget

do you invest in each of these three areas?

In our experience, to increase productivity, most companies invest their time, energy and budget in technology and processes, when the reality is that

Your people grow your business

If your people are struggling to understand the change, it can be unsettling for them, and some may choose to leave.

Unemployment in the UK is at its lowest since 1974. This means that it is easier for your staff to move to another employer. The costs of recruitment and salary to attract new staff are increasing. Staff retention is key for productivity

We have identified Top Tips for you, to achieve highly productive change.

Start with the end in mind – people need to understand why the business has to change. Describe the purpose/vision for change in a way that inspires and energises your people to want to contribute.

All communication and decisions that follow have to underpin and mirror this statement.

Example: adding value, working in partnership to grow businessa statement similar to this was developed to describe the vision for a high tech business. They identified the need to invest time in their people, understand their individual technical and personal development and value their contribution by introducing regular 121 catch ups with their manager to support achievement of work goals. In addition they focussed on partnership working within the business and with their customers to drive business growth for both.

Leaders lead – your people follow your leadership, they copy what you do and how you behave.  Identify what you need to be doing differently and how you need to adapt your individual and collective leadership behaviours to demonstrate your own commitment and ability to change. This must include what you do (your actions) and how you do it (your behaviours).

Managers manage – it is your managers who have to respond to the changing needs of your business and the reactions from their people. What support do they need to be able to adapt to the changes so that they and their staff continue to deliver business results?

Communicate, communicate, communicate – communication can be a cancer or a catalyst for change. Too little and people create their own version of reality. Their reality is often worse than reality itself. Lack of information and clarity fuels high levels of negative conversations and wastes time.  At worst this can lead to key staff leaving the business and problems attracting and recruiting talent.

Be open and honest in your communication. Share the good and the bad news as you progress. Create opportunities for two way face to face communication so that people can ask questions, to clarify and really understand what is happening and how they and your business need to adapt to grow.

Involve, involve, involve – your staff have the solutions to your challenges and opportunities. Create an environment that trusts them to develop the right solutions to achieve your purpose/vision. This is an environment that encourages staff to take risks and innovate, in the knowledge that they will be supported. An environment where mistakes are an opportunity to share and learn.

Line of sight – create a line of sight that sets clear expectations for everyone in their role and helps them to understand how they contribute to your company vision. This must include what they do (their actions) and how they do it (their behaviours). Set clear objectives that are defined, agreed and reviewed with each team member during regular 121 catch ups. Equip managers to support their teams and hold staff to account. Invest time in developing individuals to achieve their work and personal goals.

Feedback – equip everyone with the skills to provide effective feedback.  Feedback that is underpinned with the intention to help the other person improve. This has to include both what they do (their actions) and how they do it (their behaviours).

Alignment – identify the priority changes needed to align people, technology and processes to embed your changes and deliver business benefits.

Example: how does recruitment and reward need to change to attract and retain people with the right skills and attitude?

Fiona is a Birmingham CIPD Committee member. She is the founder for the Greater Birmingham Engage for Success Network to share + learn + inspire. Fiona is the founder of valuingYOU and is currently introducing a new brand My Change Expert.