How to respond to your employees' receptiveness to change
There can be a tendency, as managers, to assume that our direct reports need to be protected from change, and that they will find it difficult to deal with.
So it was fascinating to read another article, in the May-June issue of Harvard Business Review – “Your workforce is more adaptable than you think” – by Joseph B Fuller et al (pp. 118-126) which reveals that employees can be more aware and receptive to change than their business leaders predict.
This was a large multi-country study, including the UK, which compared the perceptions and attitudes towards trends or changes (‘forces of disruption’) in the workplace, between low to middle-skill workers and business leaders.
These changes included such things as:
- Accelerating technological change
- Growing demand on skills
- Changing employee expectations e.g. for work / life balance, flexible working hours and greater autonomy
- Shifting demographics / diversity e.g. in age, gender, race etc.
- Transitioning work / business models e.g. with more complex ecosystems of collaborations and partnerships
- Evolving business (regulatory, economic, political) environments
The authors suggested that leaders and managers could respond to employees' receptiveness to change through such means as:
- Involving employees in the 'why' and 'what of change
- Creating a continuous learning culture and looking to develop talent from within
- Working with partners and collaborators in academia as well as industry to develop alternative routes for developing skills
- Tracking emerging trends and giving people the opportunity to be involved in projects outside their immediate areas of expertise
(See the full blog here.) This topic is also one that we could help you to explore further in our upcoming November 14th course on Managing Change