Have you ever been told about an initiative that you didn’t know was happening? Or did you not understand why your company was pushing a big organizational change? Has your team ever been thrown off guard by an announcement of change?
When businesses need to make significant changes, the steps taken to implement those changes can make a big impact on how the change is perceived and embraced by employees. On the one hand, a successful change effort that gets people excited can improve the business and on the other, a poorly communicated change effort that lowers morale can hurt the health of the business.
This recorded resource focuses on how change initiatives impact employees within an organization. Both when they’re done well, and when they fail to achieve the desired results. Our panelists represent change agents from different levels and types of organizations and will each share unique perspectives and experiences.
Our panelists share stories about their experience navigating change management and lessons they’ve learned along the way. You’ll learn what’s worked well for them and more importantly, what hasn’t. Whether you’re curious about learning more, you’re experiencing change within your organization, or you’re a seasoned change agent — all can benefit from this lively discussion. Our goal is to offer insight into how you can improve now and overtime from leaders at some of the best, most innovative companies in the world.
Abbi Flynn: (00:00:00) – Hi everyone and welcome to our Nailing Change Management, How to Drive Change Like a Leader webinar. I’m Abbe. I’m the Community Manager at GoCoach. We’re going to get started in a few minutes, but I just wanted to cover a few tech items before we get started. So if you go to the top right of your Zoom window and hit Gallery View, you’ll be able to see all of the panelists at once. And then if you go to the bottom of the Zoom window, you should see a chat button.
Abbi Flynn: (00:00:27) – So if you click that and then click the drop down that says All Panelists and Attendees, you can write messages to everyone during the chat, excuse me, during the webinar with your questions, you know, encouragement or if you just want to say hello, we’d love to hear from you. I’m actually going to be turning my camera off shortly because I’m going to be moderating the chat, but I will see you all soon. Thanks Abbe.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:00:55) – And hello everybody. If anyone wants to pop into the chat and tell us where they’re joining us from today, we’d love to see who’s here and where you’re all located. Because we’re really excited about, really excited to present this panel to, you know, to everybody. So we’re going to hear from this wonderful panel today about change management. Just to set the record straight, change management is a process for managing change in an organization. So we’re going to dive into that definition a lot more throughout this conversation.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:01:24) – There are many models of change management like ad car, nudge theory, McKinsey 7S model and so many more. But the panelists today represent change agents from many levels and types of their organization, and they’re here to tell their change stories and hopefully you can learn something from them. So again, just some takeaways that we hope that you’ll get from this conversation are, you know, one, how to build the right framework to ensure success for change initiatives.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:01:49) – Two, how you can be the best change agent within your organization, no matter your role, the size of your company or anything else. And how to be empowered to embrace change and help others in your organization with buy-in and join you on the journey. So my name is Rebecca Taylor. I work here at Go Coach. My role is to really sort of bring people like this panel together to talk about how we can continuously learn from each other and put together programs that can make us all successful together as learners and as employees and as an overall community.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:02:19) – So I’d love for the panel to introduce themselves. So I’ll call on you. So they’re going to say their name, where they’re from, where they’re joining us and basically what brings them here today. So, Karen, you want to kick it off?
Karen Weeks: (00:02:33) – Hi, everyone. I’m Karen Weeks. I’m the VP of People at a company called OrderGroove.
Karen Weeks: (00:02:38) – We’re based downtown in New York City.
Karen Weeks: (00:02:41) – And we partner with retailers and brands to help create recurring revenue and subscription programs, predictive reorder, etc. I’ve been here about three years and most of my HR career has actually been with startups and scaling companies. So a topic like this is pretty much most of my day. And so I’m really passionate and excited to share my stories, my learnings, my successes, my not so successes with everyone. So hopefully you can walk away with some new insight.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:03:07) – Thank you, Karen.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:03:08) – And welcome.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:03:09) – Joe, you’re up next.
Joe DeBeau: (00:03:11) – Good day, everyone. My name is Joe DeBeau. I’m currently the managing director at Prestige Global Consulting. I’m also a strategic advisor to Go Coach and one of the Go Coach’s executive coaches. My background is a little different than the rest of the panel. We’ve got a lot of HR professionals with us today. I’m a finance guy, so I’m a certified public accountant, a chartered global management accountant. I’ve got an MBA, a Six Sigma black belt. So the one thing I’ll usually say about myself is I’m not your typical finance guy.
Joe DeBeau: (00:03:44) – One of the most rewarding parts of my career was when I ran a leadership development program for seven years. And that’s when I really got involved with the HR aspect and realizing how important it is for the success of any organization.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:03:59) – Thank you, Joe. Happy to have you here. Tina, you’re up next.
Tina Allen: (00:04:03) – Hi, everyone. I’m Tina Allen.
Tina Allen: (00:04:06) – Right now, I am leading my own HR consulting practice, Allen Consultings, where I’m providing interim HR business partner solutions to various agencies and organizations. Before starting my own consulting practice, I spent about 25 years as an HR leader, HR journalist, HR business partner, executive HR leader in various companies of various sizes. I’ve worked with small companies, medium, large nonprofit, for profit. So I’ve seen change management succeed and fail in various different environments.
Tina Allen: (00:04:40) – I have a lot of stories to share about that journey that I’ve taken with various different leadership teams. I’m really passionate about change management and the impact that it has on workplace cultures and employees. And so my intent today is just to share some tips and tricks with all of you on some things that you can think about as HR leaders, how to engage your workforce.
Tina Allen: (00:05:03) – If you’re not on the HR leadership side, things that you can think about as it relates to how you can get yourself involved and integrated into any change management initiatives that may be happening at your company. I’m happy to be here to talk to you.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:05:19) – Thank you, Tina.
Rebecca Taylor:(00:05:21) – Welcome.
Fred Leong: (00:05:21) – Fred, do you want to tell us about you?
Fred Leong: (00:05:23) – Hi, everyone.
Fred Leong: (00:05:25) – My name is Fred Leong.
Fred Leong: (00:05:25) – I’m currently the head of people at DV01. It’s a growing FinTech startup. Our mission really is to make sure this 2008 financial fallout doesn’t happen again. Prior to DV01, I spent a number of years at Hearst, the media company, and also at a lot of different banks. So I am passionate about change management from re-orgs to mergers and acquisitions, and really is seeing the impact of how that plays out to teams, you know, when you’re acquiring new employees or, you know, even just restructures and how that impacts.
Fred Leong: (00:06:01) – So I’m really passionate about Hearst and happy to share stories and some key takeaways and really the role of HR and how we can help in, you know, dealing with change management.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:06:13) – Awesome. Thank you, Fred. And last but not least, Carmen. Welcome.
Carmen West: (00:06:18) – Thank you. Hi, everyone. I’m Carmen West. I am also in human resources. I’ve been in HR for over 25 years working in various functional areas of HR. Most recently, as a senior director for global HR operations with McGraw-Hill Education, and I left there in 2018 and took a year off after working pretty hard doing a lot of things for them around change and other initiatives, and I decided to start my own company. So I started a consulting company as well. It is called West Advantage HR Solutions.
Carmen West:(00:06:56) – And for me, the three areas that I focus on is around people, processes and technology. Change management is one of the services that I provide, but overall, I’m very passionate about helping people choose to be great every day. And that means a lot in terms of people, processes and technology. And change management is always in the forefront of that. Also, I’m a coach for Go Coach, and I do coaching with my practice as well. And again, one of the things I’m very passionate about is helping people grow so they can be the best that they can be.
Carmen West: (00:07:33) – So today I’m very excited to be able to talk about change management, talk about what success looks like versus what it does not, and the role that it plays within our future, and the role that our leadership plays so that they can have the end result that they want.
Rebecca Taylor:(00:07:52) – Love it. Thank you, Carmen. And welcome again to everyone, and let’s dive in. So our first question is going to be for Joe. So we kind of started to talk about a little bit of this in the intro, but specifically, Joe, can you tell us exactly what is change management and why following a change management process is so important?
Joe DeBeau: (00:08:13) – Sure.
Joe DeBeau: (00:08:14) – Well, in today’s organizations, change is constant and necessary for growth and profitability. Dr. Edward Deming, he’s a management guru on quality. He said something a while ago, which I really stuck, and said change is not necessary if survival is not mandatory. So if you really think about it, you know, change management is the new management, and a consistent change management process will aid in minimizing the impact it has on your organization.
Joe DeBeau:(00:08:45) – Whether the change is about process, technologies, or the structure of an organization, it could be a merger or acquisition. Each change impacts how individual employees do their jobs, and the success of this change depends on the success of the change management and encouraging individuals to embrace, adopt, and really accept that change. Socrates said that the secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
Joe DeBeau: (00:09:16) – If you think about that for a minute, Socrates said that he died in 399 BC. So people have been fighting and resisting change for a long time. And change management is nothing more than a systemic approach to dealing with the transition or the transformation of an organization’s goals, their processes, or their technologies. And the purpose is really to implement strategies for affecting that change, for controlling that change, and really for helping people adapt to the change.
Joe DeBeau: (00:09:51) – One of the things you’ll hear me say is Y is a function of X. Your output is a function of your input. So when you think about that and you think about the process of change management, it’s really important to understand what those important inputs are. And that will really enable you to develop a process and to monitor that process and to help you succeed in that process.
Joe DeBeau: (00:10:17) – So, first of all, I want to… a disciplined process will improve the odds of the change initiative becoming much more successful. Despite extensive knowledge on the area, failure remains high in change initiatives. Failures are probably in the 50 to 70% range, and it’s really because of implementation. So the problems really tend to fall in the implementation of this change management process. If change management is done well, it can be fun, it can be exciting, and a lot of people can really enjoy the ride.
Joe DeBeau:(00:10:49) – But on the other hand, if it’s done poorly, it’s painful, it’s demotivating. You’re left with chaos, you’re left with a poor performing team who seems to have multiple competing priorities, a loss of focus. And that’s really going to derail any sort of success that you may have.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:11:13) – Yeah.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:11:14) – And I love the Socrates quote too, because it’s true.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:11:17) – It’s like people have been fighting this for a long time, and it’s natural for people to resist the unknown. And it’s natural for people to sort of, you know, be curious or cautious about whatever that is. And, you know, it’s like just to, you know, what I’m hearing is that it’s important to have a framework so that people have knowns within the unknowns, and that they know what they need to do to sort of get to, you know, get to the other side.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:11:41) – And it’s comfortable for everyone.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:11:44) – Yeah, yeah. And it’s about the leadership of how you lead people through that.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:11:47) – And so it kind of brings me to, you know, the next question, which I’ll aim at Carmen, because I know you work a lot with this with clients, and you’ve done this a lot, you know, in your experience as well. Carmen, can you tell us about a major change that you led on your team? And like, what do you wish you’d known then that you know now?
Carmen West: (00:12:04) – Yeah, I think to sum it up, it kind of plays well off of what Joe said. The main thing that I’ve learned over the years is fear. Fear can be overpowering in people. I mean, you know, let’s face it, we all wish that we had a crystal ball or a magic mirror that we can look into and say, OK, you know, where are the issues that I need to be concerned about, or the challenges or the barriers that I’m going to have to fight? You know, not happening. That’s not available.
Carmen West: (00:12:38) – And for me, the beauty of that, it does allow you to take the time to sit down and talk to people, because change happening and happening correctly is about working and talking with people. And when you do that, you learn. Now, it takes time. That’s where you wish you had the crystal ball. But it takes time because you have to get to the root cause. And every functional area of the business could be different. Every individual could be different, you know, and I’ve worked in a lot of projects.
Carmen West: (00:13:15) – I mean, let’s face it, I’ve done SAP implementations globally. I’ve done gas systems implementations where I know too much was happening up under the ground around gas and, you know, TA applications. I mean, the list of projects go on and on. But what I’ve learned is that there’s two things and they’re very, they sound the same, but they’re different. One is the fear of unknown and the other is the fear of what they don’t know. The fear of unknown is simply about communicating, you know.
Carmen West: (00:13:52) – So if an organization is going through a large transformation of any kind within the organization and they’re not communicating well of the who, what, when and how, and a certain area of the organization is going to be impacted or an individual is going to be impacted or how roles are going to be impacted. That is, that’s going to be a concern. And so that’s the fear of the unknown. The fear of what I don’t know, that’s even bigger.
Carmen West: (00:14:23) – You know, that’s where someone’s job or the role that they play every day, the way they do it one day is going to be completely different come go live of a huge initiative. And it’s about that readiness, making sure that that individual and individuals within a team are truly ready. And it’s beyond communicating. You know, I talked to a senior leader once within an organization of a project and they said, well, you know, we’re doing the communications on our internal website and we have some email communications.
Carmen West: (00:14:58) – And I was very honest and somewhat blunt and said, that is not how change happens. It doesn’t work that way. And it’s about taking a step back and working with those leaders to help them understand all the time and effort that goes into that transformation. There’s a lot of things that organizations can do beyond just simply communicating on an internal website or sending an email about the timeline of things. Every culture is different. Every individual is different. This is where innovation has to come into play.
Carmen West: (00:15:38) – This is where thinking outside the box has to come to play. And this is where leaders truly step up and say, I care and I want to know what you’re feeling. And I want to talk together about how we can make this work. And it really is about servant leadership. It’s servant leadership and change methodologies working together in order to bring about that mobility and the transformation that you want to bring about.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:16:13) – Yeah, I love that.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:16:15) – And I love the bluntness too, where, you know, if something is, you know, if something’s not going to be set up to be successful and a change, it is important to sort of be honest and be able to say, look, this isn’t necessarily how change works. Here are all the factors that need to contribute to it.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:16:31) – And here are all the people that need to be involved.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:16:33) – You know, and so speaking of, you know, all the other people who need to be involved, Fred, this next question is for you. So what role do employees play in change management? We talk a lot about leaders and we talk a lot about sort of, you know, HR, but you know, what role do employees play?
Rebecca Taylor: (00:16:52) – How can they participate effectively?
Rebecca Taylor: (00:16:55) – And how are they empowered to take ownership of a change component in an organization?
Fred Leong: (00:17:02) – Just like culture, every employee has a stake in responsibility and shaping that. I think that I really firmly believe that employees should feel empowered and start with leadership and starts with, you know, having an organization and working on finance, identifying who those change champions are.
Fred Leong: (00:17:19) – And sometimes, you know, they’re not identified and they should be able to raise their hand and say, hey, I can contribute in this area, knowing their roles and responsibility and feel like, hey, they can have some ownership and to kind of, you know, go back to what Joe and Carmen had talked about.
Fred Leong: (00:17:35) – It’s like getting people to talk, you know, it’s just how you frame these communications, having focus groups to talk about these things because there’s a real big gap between leadership sometimes and also people on the ground or in the weeds doing the work, right? So getting to like understand, hey, you know, we’re looking for this change on even like a migration. We don’t really have the proper context of it.
Fred Leong: (00:18:00) – Can you, you’re doing this on a day-to-day basis, hand-off workflows, how do we streamline that and that’s the whole, you know, big part of the change. And every employee should feel, you know, team members should feel like, hey, let’s go to managers, go to leadership, say, hey, I have value here. I’m doing it. I can save us money. I can save us time, right? And there’s the knowledge gaps that they’re not really addressed during change management. It’s just kind of like, you know, these bullet points, A, B, C, and looking at end to end.
Fred Leong: (00:18:30) – But again, you know, bridging the gaps. I think that’s a really key part of it.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:18:38) – Yeah. Yeah.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:18:39) – It takes a village, right?
Fred Leong: (00:18:40) – Yes.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:18:41) – It takes a village to manage change.
Fred Leong: (00:18:44) – Everyone has a stake in it.
Rebecca Taylor:(00:18:47) – Yeah.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:18:47) – Yeah, it’s true because, well, you know, it affects you. Like it affects everybody in an organization. So it’s, you know, there’s different roles that everyone can play and I love that, you know, there is ways to empower, you know, to empower people and to empower yourself to sort of take an active role.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:19:01) – You’re, you know, also part of driving the bus a little bit. And so, you know, it’s also there’s, so it’s all well and good to talk about, you know, how to implement change effectively and, you know, how to do it right from the very beginning and, you know, that’s all well and good.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:19:16) – But, you know, in the reality of life, right, there’s a way, sometimes you have to do things mid-flight, especially a lot in the startup space, right? And like you, Karen, I’ve spent a lot of time in the startup space and there’s always the, well, this is what’s already going on and we somehow need to kind of incorporate this as well. So, Karen, to ask, to sort of think about this, is there anything that you can do to redirect change once it goes off the rails?
Rebecca Taylor: (00:19:41) – Or how to sort of get it back on track if there’s other things happening while the change is taking place?
Karen Weeks: (00:19:48) – Yeah, I think it really comes down to honesty and transparency. So we are all human, even the ones that supposedly know how to do this. And so we can, I think just being honest around, you know, this was our approach.
Karen Weeks: (00:20:00) – We thought this was going to go X, Y, and Z. It ended up going A, B, and C. Or we heard feedback that that didn’t resonate with you guys. Or that something was missed, that we missed something. Or at a friend’s point, we heard feedback from the team about this change. And we need to sort of readjust and just be really honest about that. I went through a situation recently where we shifted our priorities. One team member said, you did such a great job getting us excited about A, that when you told us about B, we were disappointed.
Karen Weeks: (00:20:28) – We were like, okay, well that’s fair, because we were excited about A. And one of the biggest lessons was as we put out this great communication plan, we talked to the teams, and we did follow-ups, and we built the excitement. We’re really big, or we try to be really big on empowering folks to be part of the solution. And so on Friday when we shared the change, we said, so next week we’re going to work together to figure out what we’re going to tackle next as part of this shift. And everybody walked away going, so what do I work on on Monday?
Karen Weeks: (00:20:58) – And we were like, oh, we’re going to figure that out. Right, when I come in on Monday, what am I doing? Oh, okay, we understand. So we kind of said, well, on Monday we’re going to figure this out. They were saying, no, what am I literally doing on Monday? And so we had to take a step back and say, okay, so we kind of, we wanted you to be a part of that, but we completely understand that that is not clear, so let us take a step back and talk about this a little bit more.
Karen Weeks: (00:21:22) – And so we came with a couple suggestions of, okay, so Monday and Tuesday, while we’re working with you on figuring it out, this is what we’re literally going to be doing to finish it up. So people weren’t unclear, people weren’t anxious, and people had that security of, no, we do know what we’re doing, and this is all with purpose, but we want you to be part of that journey with us, but not so free-flying that no one knows what they’re doing.
Karen Weeks: (00:21:45) – And so we had to make that adjustment midway through, both in communication, but also literally helping the teams figure out what they were working on.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:21:55) – Yeah, I love that. Someone said this to me once, and I don’t know if they were quoting something or if it was just sort of their own thing, but they said that clarity is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. And it’s just helping someone to understand exactly what it means for them to make it really clear whatever action it is that they need to take, and that’s sort of the greatest thing just to relieve their anxiety, the fear of the unknown, and all the points that you made that have kind of been coming up in the conversation to begin with.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:22:21) – And I think that there’s definitely that saying that the only constant is change, right? And so every company is going through a lot of different types of things at the same time, and so what we’ve kind of come across a lot as people but also as Go Coach is this concept of change fatigue. And so Tina, this question is for you. Can you just sort of share a little bit about, well first, sort of describe what change fatigue is and how you can help manage it and sort of get your employees through that.
Tina Allen: (00:22:57) – Sure.
Tina Allen: (00:22:58) – So you know from my perspective, change fatigue is when there’s a lot of different types of change initiatives happening in one organization, all kind of overlapping on top of each other. And sometimes all of that different kind of change becomes really unwieldy and very stressful for the organization. So that’s where change fatigue comes from. I think the way you look to manage that, I know the way you look to manage that is to number one, really talk about the purpose of the change.
Tina Allen: (00:23:30) – And Joe, Karen, Carmen, Fred have all talked about purpose in some shape, form or fashion with their comments and I want to go back to that. It’s really important when you kick off your change management to be very clear with your organization about the why. Why does this change need to happen? What’s the purpose? What’s the reason?
Tina Allen: (00:23:52) – You want to get clear in communicating that to your organization and then you want to literally help every employee understand in that organization how their role, how the purpose in their role, what they do, laddies up to that overall organizational change. And I think you have to start there. And you know, a lot of people nod their heads at that. It sounds simple and easy enough to do. You think if you have one major piece of communication like Carmen said, or the timeline you’re communicating. No, not so much.
Tina Allen: (00:24:24) – What I’m talking about is really iterative, intuitive communication that’s happening with a cadence where you’re not just updating the organization on how things are progressing, you’re actually inviting and soliciting feedback and commentary. You are acknowledging the stress, you’re acknowledging the chaos. Karen talked about being transparent, that maybe you didn’t get it right on the first go. Employees love to hear that. They love to hear that we’re vulnerable when it comes to change management.
Tina Allen: (00:24:58) – They love to hear that we don’t have all the answers, even though we’re leadership. So own that.
Tina Allen: (00:25:03) – And tell them, this is a journey. We’re going to go on this journey together. We hope to have everything nailed down, but that’s not the way life happens and it’s not the way change happens. So it’s going to be a little rocky. Come on this journey with us. Help us get it right. Invite them. Maybe there’s focus groups that give employees an opportunity to bet in a structured, productive way that then gets cascaded up to leadership so that action can take. Or what about this? Maybe leadership doesn’t have to take all of the action.
Tina Allen: (00:25:37) – Maybe leadership works with the employees to set the framework and then you give the employees an opportunity to take leadership in certain parts of the change initiative process. That way, if people have ownership, they’re less likely to be fatigued. They might be a little overworked and helping to manage the change initiative along with their regular full time jobs.
Tina Allen: (00:26:01) – But if people know the why and if people know how the why impacts them and how what they do impacts the why, they’re going to get on board because they’re going to feel purposeful in what they’re doing and how they’re helping the organization. So it all goes back to connecting to the purpose. What’s my purpose in my role? How does this purpose now ladder up to this new change that the organization is going through? That’s one thing I would say. Two things, actually.
Tina Allen: (00:26:33) – You know, bringing the employees in, acknowledging that it’s not going to be smooth sailing, that there’s going to be some bumps, some hills, some valleys, asking them to come on that journey with you, soliciting feedback from them on how to manage those different valleys and peaks throughout the change process. I would also say that when you’re looking at any kind of change initiative, you want to think about ways to message that change so that it’s touching every point in the employee experience.
Tina Allen: (00:27:07) – So, for example, if the organization is going through a big change and you’re hiring, are you communicating this great transformation, this exciting transformation that the organization is going through, through your job postings so that you’re getting the new hires on board as new ambassadors. They’re coming into the organization excited about the role they’re going to play in the change. And that kind of energy becomes infectious throughout the organization. And there’s other different types of touch points.
Tina Allen: (00:27:36) – So I think that those are some some tips and tricks to to help all of us manage the change and manage the change fatigue. It’s really acknowledging. It’s like any other relationship, right? You’re stressing, you have to acknowledge the stress, you… and valleys, and you have to acknowledge a journey. A journey is not without peaks and valleys.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:27:56) – So I love that. I love that. And it’s true. I mean, there’s there’s a lot of there’s a lot to be said for, you know, for humility. Right. And for for that transparency and sort of being able to share, share the journey together, because I think that, you know, when you’re when you’re a leader, it’s so natural to want to feel like you have all the answers and to show your team like we’re in good hands.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:28:16) – But sometimes, you know, when I look back at some of the bigger changes that I’ve experienced in my career as, you know, as an employee, when I think about the managers who stood out, it was the ones who sort of had that that vulnerability and, you know, and they communicated really well.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:28:30) – And I think to kind of, you know, embellish a little bit on that, you know, Joe, this question is for you, because I know that we’ve talked about this a lot, you know, just as you know, in general as our advisor and also just as someone who sort of been through this stuff a lot on how can you over communicate during a change process? And how do you do that to ensure that you’re building trust throughout the change?
Joe DeBeau: (00:28:53) – Well, I don’t think there’s any such thing as over communicating during a major change initiative. You know, if you think about any any process that we talk about, right, it’s about communication. It’s about collaboration and execution. So it’s really about results and not the activity. And the way to get that results to drive that results is really through open and honest communication. So if you’re identifying or planning or executing this plan, it’s really dependent on good communication. You need to be clear, honest about what’s changing.
Joe DeBeau: (00:29:32) – And as Tina said, it’s important to say why. OK, clear and honest communications required to really build trust. The leadership team has to explain the benefits of of the change, what the employees can expect. The one thing that every employee during any change initiative I’ve ever been associated with wants to know is what’s in it for me?
Joe DeBeau: (00:29:57) – All they care about is really, I know there’s all this grandiose vision and plan of what’s going to happen about our future, but they’re really concerned about themselves, right? What’s in it for me? So I think it’s important to make sure that we’re able to articulate that. And any sort of spin or sugar coating will likely be an effort, the employees will think you’re trying to hide something.
Joe DeBeau: (00:30:21) – And you have to make sure you can gain that employee trust if you use simple, straightforward language and you’re completely upfront about what’s changing and why. And as Carmen and Tina and Fred and Karen all said is, you don’t have all the answers and that’s okay, as long as you let everyone know that you don’t have all of the answers. Don’t talk down to employees. That only makes them feel resentful and unvalued.
Joe DeBeau: (00:30:49) – And some companies believe that the employees can’t handle the truth, but people respond I think well and respectful to open and honest communication. Employees need the basics of why and where are we going? It’s important for the positive outcomes to be there is when we can articulate what winning looks like on the other side of the change. If leaders can inspire a shared vision by creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become.
Joe DeBeau: (00:31:25) – You need to clarify how the future will be different from the past and how we can make the future a reality. And again, it’s we, it’s not I, right? It’s the village as you said, right? So how can we drive the change necessary to really get to that next level? Getting people to see the exciting possibilities of the future. And once that vision is communicated, it really needs to be understood by everyone and then momentum can begin. And also as someone, I think it was Tina said, the communication has to be a two way street.
Joe DeBeau: (00:32:03) – You need to be able to create a channel where employees can ask questions, can express their concerns, and more importantly, can get answers. You can have a dedicated email alias, which is always a good start, but I know a lot of times people are reluctant to send an email in because you know where it came from. Town halls are awesome to have a town hall. It’s a little bit more personal and if you really execute it right, you can get the story out that we’re in it all together.
Joe DeBeau: (00:32:35) – Focus groups are great because they become more of, I guess your thoughts are not necessarily out there on your own. They become the group’s thoughts, not one any individual, but you have to allow employees to ask these questions and address and clarify the things that are concerning them. Because a lot of times something really interesting can come out of that focus group, something that you hadn’t thought of and something you need to be aware of to make sure that you can learn about potential glitches in the process that you never anticipated.
Joe DeBeau: (00:33:11) – So I think to sum it up, speaking clearly and honestly is key to communicating with employees at any time, but especially during the uncertain and unsettling times of change.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:33:23) – Yeah, yeah. And I totally agree with that too because it’s like you have to not just continuously communicate every stage, but it’s also just repeating the same things over and over again a lot too. Right? It’s like, you know, because sometimes people don’t always understand what you’re saying the first time you say it and not in a way that you’re talking down, but it’s more just for people to realize and understand that something’s happening. You have to repeat it sometimes five.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:33:51) – I think the statistic is five to seven times before someone starts to really understand and interpret that. So I think that’s, you know, I totally agree. Talk more, share more with your people, and I love the idea for town halls and everything too because I think those are something that anybody who’s watching this can start to initiate and to do, either with their teams or even company-wide.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:34:16) – So what we see a lot is that, you know, going back to the idea that change is always happening and change is always happening in every organization, there’s also some, you know, a lot of situations where different parts of the organization might have different changes happening, right? Or that there’s different change initiatives happening.
Rebecca Taylor:(00:34:35) – So Carmen, this question’s for you, especially just, you know, for your experience with your business now and coming from such a large, large, large organization like McGraw-Hill, with all the competing change initiatives going on in organizations, how are organizations working to ensure that they’re getting the results they need to have for the success of the business? And how is the future of work driving all of these competing change initiatives too?
Carmen West: (00:35:01) – Right. For me, this is one of the things I’m really passionate about and one of the main reasons why I decided to start my own consulting company. And it’s because a lot of things are changing within the workplace and how people go about running their organizations today certainly will be very different in 2020 and beyond. In fact, a lot of those changes started happening early on, like 2011, 2012 is when you started reading about all over the internet and then globally around those changes that are happening.
Carmen West: (00:35:43) – And those companies who have been on the forefront of, you know, being innovative, listening and reading and staying up on top of the changes that are happening globally, they got out in front of it in terms of how to deal with data analytics, how to deal with ANI and so on and so forth. So one of the things for me that I’ve been reading on a lot is with Deloitte. So I have to plug them a bit, but Deloitte really does stay on the forefront of what is trending around global human capital trends. And they started doing this back in 2013.
Carmen West: (00:36:26) – So for 2019, their topic is around the forces of change for the future of work. And that is all around technology, is all around AI, robotics, sensors, you know, you go into stores today and there’s sensors and they’re watching you. I saw it on the news today, watching you in terms of what area of the store you go to and what you’re looking at, all from a sensor and that’s gathering data. And then data analytics, you know, the demographics are changing, the empowerment of your customers, the things that they’re demanding as a client for organizations.
Carmen West: (00:37:08) – If you’re not listening to that, you’re behind the eight ball. Work in the workforce is being redesigned, the roles and the jobs today. You know, organizations like Chase, they’re thinking of doing away with job descriptions. Now there’s some compliance things around that I’m sure that they’re going to have to mitigate but you don’t need a job description anymore in terms of the work that is being done. It depends on the company.
Carmen West: (00:37:38) – But those are the things that companies are thinking about, the implications of individuals and the fact that they want to continuously learn and grow. They want that. And as an organization, if you’re not providing that for them, you’re going to see your retention numbers drop significantly. Companies are already seeing it. They want to be coached, they want to be mentored, they want to continue to grow, they want to learn things way beyond their job description because no longer is it about a job description or is it about a title.
Carmen West: (00:38:16) – Implications within organizations, a lot of restructuring is happening, a lot of new technology is happening and you’ve got to get on top of that and figure out what works for your culture or how do you want to shift your culture so that it can be the best that it can be, you know, in 2020 and beyond. And then implications around public policy, lifelong education, reassessing legal and regulatory requirements, all of those things are keys within our future. No longer can you maintain status quo, as I talked about that earlier.
Carmen West: (00:38:55) – It’s not going to be cool anymore to continue to do things the way you’re doing them today. That’s just the bottom line. It’s not. And then I read a lot about HR because I am an HR practitioner for years and love and very passionate about that. And within that space, the HR organization has to transform. If they don’t transform, how will they, excuse me, how will they be able to transform the workforce within the cultures that they work in and therefore the businesses be able to transform to reach the goals and have the results that they want?
Carmen West: (00:39:33) – It really does start there. And I was reading some other material within this space and they were saying that HR has to start being strategic. And I thought to myself and I laughed, but then I got mad because when did we stop being strategic? At what point did that happen? Did I miss it? You know, so I guess I’m.
Carmen West: (00:40:00) – I’m saying all of this to say, as you know, the big picture from HR, whatever role that you’re in, you have to stop doing your job the same way that you’re doing it and think about how you can do it differently given everything that is happening in the marketplace so that not only you as an individual can succeed and grow, but you can help your organization do the same. You have to be different because the status quo, like I said, is no longer cool.
Speaker 2 (00:40:34) – It’s just not. You need to change, right?
Carmen West: (00:40:41) – Yes.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:40:42) – Yeah, I love that.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:40:44) – And it’s true.
Rebecca Taylor:(00:40:44) – I mean, and I love, you know, as a spending 10 years in HR myself, I always love saying, why did HR stop being strategic? Because my experience is a little bit different. But I mean, it’s also the concept that we are all in this together, which is something that has kind of been the recurring theme of this too. And I think, you know, no matter what your role is, whether you’re in HR, outside of HR, or whatever, it goes back to that village concept too, right?
Rebecca Taylor: (00:41:13) – And so, Fred, this question is actually for you because I know this is sort of a part that, you know, point that you’re excited about having navigated change at a large organization too, like hers. What essential partners or resources do you recommend to help people learn more about change management? And how do you, I guess, you know, when you’re going through this, how do you find your change champions and how do you identify your role in the change and build your village?
Fred Leong:(00:41:41) – Yeah, I like to start with the role. And thank you for Tina and Carmen bringing that up because I think oftentimes, you know, HR is like, oh, you’re supposed to be then dealing with the talent or the people, right? But then how do you integrate that? And how do you then partner with legal? And Joe brought up a good point, like what’s in it for them, right? Partners are probably thinking, what’s my role in this and how do I affect the change?
Fred Leong: (00:42:06) – So, you know, whether you’re a leader or HR practitioner, I think it’s really important to, you know, kind of really, you know, flesh this out and see like who, you know, what their roles and responsibilities are, and then how you bring them together. Because again, it’s kind of daunting experience. And, you know, I was just coaching someone else and they’re like, how do I even figure this out?
Fred Leong: (00:42:27) – And it could be such a daunting experience, but they don’t need to, as long as they bring everyone together, bring some clarity, context and connect the dots, I think that’s really essential. As far as partners, you know, even something is like IT or legal or PR, it’s saying, hey, these are your roles. You’re going to have to do from PR, from internal, external, help set up those town halls that Joe had brought up, right? Or the, those group discussions that Tina had, you know, those focus groups, right?
Fred Leong: (00:42:57) – So that’s where they can do, and then they can leverage them. Legal, if it’s something even system, simple as like a systems migration from a recruiting perspective, like how does this affect like the global aspects or like some of these compliance rules for each state.
Fred Leong: (00:43:13) – So every one of our partners plays a role, right?
Fred Leong: (00:43:16) – And you just got to bring them together. Finance is a big piece because change management is often dictated by numbers and reaching some, you know, numbers target from, you know, dollars saved or, you know, revenue that we’re trying to achieve. So they probably a role in kind of explaining back to Tina and Carmen saying the why, what’s our purpose in this? So getting those essential partners, bring them together and really, and really again, be human about this, right? With care and approaching with like the end state in mind and the follow through.
Fred Leong: (00:43:51) – Like a lot of times it’s like, it’s all the preparation upfront. And then the implementation that Joe talked about.
Fred Leong: (00:43:56) – So key, what is the follow through, right? What’s, what does the ideal state look like?
Fred Leong: (00:44:01) – And then the, you know, six months out or even a year or two, because then that gets us back to the purpose of saying, Hey, this is work we’re trying to drive at. And, you know, I think oftentimes we’re so focused on the implementation. Are we meeting these milestones that we kind of like forget about the, that ideal state. We have a pizza party or something, everyone celebrates and then that’s it. Okay. But has it been successful?
Fred Leong: (00:44:24) – And then, you know, getting people to kind of, you know, from here’s the buying adoption, and then what are we, you know, you still play a stake in this. So identifying as far as change champions, getting back to the leaders, right? And it goes, you know, this is something where I feel strongly. It starts with leadership modeling that they can lead the focus groups, talk to the managers, cascade that message down, identifying who the key players are.
Fred Leong: (00:44:52) – What I talked about this earlier is this bridge, you know, this gap between leadership, seeing the high level 10,000 foot, right? But they’re not in the weeds. They’re not doing it. So get the managers to help bridge that gap. Identify where those change management are, you know, help them see what’s in it for them, right? That it’s going to make their lives easier or saying, Hey, it’s just greater purpose. If you care about this company, you know, you care about your role and this is going to help us be more successful.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:45:22) – I love that. And it’s, I mean, it is true. It’s like, you know, when you’re, when you remind people of the purpose, then you can sort of help them understand how to get there. And it’s, you know, it’s, it’s kind of like it’s a journey, right? So if you’re focused on the destination, then, you know, there is the journey part that’s there. And something that I love that, you know, that you mentioned that I want to call out is celebrating milestones that, you know, there isn’t just the beginning and the end.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:45:48) – There’s all the different sort of things that you get there. If you’re on a road trip, there’s all the pit stops, right?
Rebecca Taylor: (00:45:53) – There’s all the little things that you do along the way.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:45:56) – And you know, acknowledging the milestones I think are really important and part of change culture because it also helps to embrace the fact that change is ongoing. So even when this particular thing happens, there’s always going to be the next thing. So instead of just holding out for whatever it is next, just think about the little things that happen along the way and celebrate them or iterate on them or whatever it is that, you know, that’s being dictated there.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:46:21) – And I think that this kind of actually goes really nicely into something that, you know, Karen, you and I have spoken about a little bit is sort of outside of a change framework. Like there’s, you know, a change framework is an important thing obviously to have to do to sort of make any type of change successful. But outside of that, what are some other essential foundational components that a company must have to rally their employees around a change initiative?
Karen Weeks: (00:46:46) – Yeah, I think it really always comes down to tying it to your culture, whether that is the way you communicate about it and then the way you support people. Is it cascading? Is it a huge town hall? Is it one message and then follow up messages? So really thinking about your culture and then building it into, especially on startups and scaling companies where change happens everywhere, but especially happens here and it happens fast and it happens a lot. And so the last two companies I’ve worked for, it was always top of mind for folks.
Karen Weeks: (00:47:16) – So at the end of every town hall, quarterly, all hands, whatever thing it was, at my last company our CEO always closed with a slide with Darwin’s quote about only the ones that survive evolve and adapt to change. And so it was like, this is part of who we are because at the end of every meeting he closed with that. Here at Oratory of One of Our Values is we’re comfortable being uncomfortable. And part of that is change. It’s a roller coaster being part of a company like this. So you have to be willing to go on that roller coaster.
Karen Weeks: (00:47:47) – It doesn’t mean we’re going to abuse it. Change fatigue is absolutely a thing. But you have to be willing to go on that ride and on that journey if this is the right place for you.
Karen Weeks: (00:47:56) – And so when we go through change or we talk about these sort of things, tying it back to your values, your culture, your mission, whatever is important for your company, that will make it resonate and that will make it feel more personal and that will help ground it during that time of unknown, during that time of fear, during the time that we don’t know what we’re going to do on Monday. It just rounds it into, oh yeah, we’re built for this. We’re going to be OK. It’s part of our DNA here.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:48:22) – I love that. I mean, HR person to me, I think values are the center of everything. And it is true. It’s like, you know, there is sort of a balance between change fatigue and constant change.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:48:32) – But it’s like if you have sort of the values component in there and you have sort of that change built within your culture and you can sort of help people get there throughout the interview process, their training process, their coaching, everything, that you can really help them feel empowered to, you know, to bring on the behavior that you need them to have, which are really what the values are to see it all through. And so I know we’ve got time for one more question.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:48:58) – And so I’m actually excited about this one because I’m a sucker for any kind of storytime. So Tina, I know we started to talk a little bit about this yesterday, and so I’d love for you to share. Have you ever been part or a core part of a change initiative where something went wrong? What did you learn and how did it impact future change?
Tina Allen: (00:49:20) – Sure. So, you know, I’ve had a number of HR leadership roles in various organizations where there were either an integration happening, a merger and acquisition happening. And in each of these different organizations, there were a couple of times where the change did not happen the way it should have.
Tina Allen: (00:49:44) – And it did create a lot of challenges for the organization.
Tina Allen:(00:49:49) – And when I think back on where we went wrong, we as the leadership team, some very clear things emerged for me.
Tina Allen: (00:49:58) – I talked earlier, as did the other panelists, about purpose. And while I can see from the leadership standpoint that we felt like we did a good job communicating to the employees why this change was happening, we didn’t do a good enough job in really cascading down and drilling down how the change really impacted them and their role and making sure that they were clear and on board with how this change cascaded up to the overall organization purpose.
Tina Allen: (00:50:31) – So I think one of the big learning lessons was understanding that you’ve got to be very clear and provide clarity around organizational purpose. So I did work in an organization that was going through an integration process, and they just weren’t clear about why the integration was necessary. Why was it necessary for the organization to engage in this mergers and acquisition? What did it do for the company? How did it add to the value of the organization for its clients and its customer bases?
Tina Allen:(00:50:59) – And how did it add to the value as it relates to the employee experience? So we didn’t do a good enough job in just communicating that.
Tina Allen: (00:51:07) – The other thing that happened was throughout the change process, there was certainly some communications and very large scale, but there wasn’t enough coaching happening between functional leaders and their teams. They weren’t spending enough time taking that organizational change messaging and looking for opportunities to kind of really explore that in small groups.
Tina Allen: (00:51:36) – When you’re going through a change initiative and the message comes down from the top, you then want those functional leaders to now get involved with their teams and talking through how that change impacts them so that they can bubble up any concerns or issues.
Tina Allen:(00:51:52) – That was something that didn’t happen enough.
Tina Allen: (00:51:55) – And that’s really on leadership, on us as HR leaders to really push the leadership to make sure it’s happening. And I’m talking about your C suite. Get in there with them. When was the last time you talked to your functional heads of different departments? When was the last time they had a one-on-one with their team? When was the last time they held a department meeting and talked through how the change was impacting everyone and just getting some feedback on how folks were feeling? That was not happening enough.
Tina Allen: (00:52:25) – And I know this because of course all of the employees were lining up outside of my door to ask me questions, to vent, to express their fear of the unknown, like Carmen said. And so I knew it wasn’t happening.
Tina Allen: (00:52:39) – And what do you do when you’re the HR leader and you’re on the receiving end of that?
Tina Allen: (00:52:43) – You make a beeline for the CEO’s office or the C suite’s office and you sit down and you have a conversation about how you need to take a step back and look at how the change management process is happening and where can we kind of intercept ourselves to make sure we’re connecting the dots for the employees. So certainly in this situation, that wasn’t happening enough. So that’s the collaboration.
Tina Allen: (00:53:09) – That’s the collaboration part that we talked about. We talked about communication, collaboration, and then the execution.
Tina Allen:(00:53:14) – So from a follow-up standpoint, you map out your timelines, you map out the different steps that are going to happen.
Tina Allen: (00:53:24) – There was a situation where we were looking to bring a new organization onto a number of different technology platforms. And the truth of the matter is they really weren’t interested. How did we miss that in the initial conversations?
Tina Allen: (00:53:39) – How did we miss that sentiment was going to become a block for executing successfully and efficiently on getting them to get onto all of these different technology platforms? And what I realized in retrospect was that we should have, again, taken a step back, went back to that table and had some discussions. Maybe we have to understand with change management that it’s never one size fits all. And this was an organization that does a lot of mergers and acquisitions.
Tina Allen: (00:54:15) – So they acquire a lot of different organizations into the parent company.
Tina Allen: (00:54:19) – Well, the process for acquiring different organizations cannot always be the same.
Tina Allen:(00:54:24) – We can’t have one playbook for every type of organization that we want to acquire into the parent company. We’ve got to look at their culture.
Tina Allen: (00:54:33) – What’s going to work for them? I think.
Tina Allen: (00:54:35) – Where we really get in trouble is, man, that’s a lot of work, right? It’s a lot of work. Who’s going to do all of that work? And who was it? Was it Carmen, I think you said? It’s about talking to people, right? You have to talk to them and you have to say, here’s the plan. How is this going to resonate in your culture? Now that we’re bringing you into this larger organization, where do you think the pain points are going to be? How can we talk about how to mitigate that?
Tina Allen: (00:55:05) – Because what we want to do from a grand scheme to scale may not work for your organization that’s just 50 people joining our parent company versus the other organization that’s maybe 500 people joining the parent company. So I think it is about really getting very deep into the details and what matters for each situation, each constituent. And you can look at that from an internal perspective. Fred was talking about the different departments that you want to bring into the change management process. How does it impact that department?
Tina Allen: (00:55:44) – What are going to be the pain points for them? And understanding that their pain points are going to be different than the other department internally that’s going to participate. So it really does go back to that collaboration.
Tina Allen: (00:55:55) – And then from an execution standpoint, what I’ve seen going wrong is not enough touch points to make sure that the implementation has really been happening the way you may have expected, or an unwillingness on the part of the larger organization to accept that those pain points exist and that there needs to be some work done to kind of manage that through. And so what has happened, what I’ve seen happen, is I’ve seen smaller organizations join the larger parent organization, and I’ve seen employees disengage.
Tina Allen:(00:56:29) – I’ve seen 25, 30% turnover after an integration. And through the exit interview data, I’ve heard things like, you know, you guys just didn’t get it. Nobody ever helped me understand how my role was going to be part of this larger change. And so now I’m going to a new organization where things are just a lot more clear, and I feel more comfortable. I feel like I know what’s happening to me every day, and I just didn’t get that. And as nature of leader, I really became concerned with being on the receiving end of that kind of conversation and dialogue.
Tina Allen:(00:57:06) – And so it is one of the reasons, like Carmen, why I decided to kind of go out on my own and help organizations figure this out. And also, not just organizations, help people, professionals, employees, figure out where they fit in in that process and what they can do. If there’s an organization that they have a lot of passion for, that they want to stay with, how do I get myself involved? How do I bubble up to my leadership team that they’re kind of not getting this right? Where do I go for that? HR, right?
Tina Allen: (00:57:41) – So those are some of the things that I’ve seen that have not gone well. And the consequences of not getting change management correct is turnover. Having employees disengage who stay with the organization but are not part of the party, or out there grumbling, becoming toxic. I’ve seen toxic cultures develop from change management not being handled correctly. And that is the one biggest challenge and outcome of getting change management wrong. You end up creating a toxic workplace culture.
Tina Allen: (00:58:23) – Most of the organizations I’ve been part of from an HR standpoint, the lack of managing that change management correctly has created that toxicity in the culture. And then sometimes you just can’t come back from that. It’s just too hard. And then the organization goes through another change where you deal with the clearing out of employees and staff, and you have to hire new people in, and you have to… work again. And they’ve looked at all of the glass door reviews, and they’re trying to understand what’s going on in your organization.
Tina Allen: (00:58:54) – People, this is the result of bad change management.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:58:58) – Yes. I love your passion. And I hate to have to cut you off. We are at time. And I love that because there is definitely a lot that, you know, there’s a lot that we can do to really help people drive this really, really well. And I hope that everyone who’s been here was able to learn something from this group. I know I did, and I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. And so thank you to everybody for being here as an attendee, as a panelist. And we look forward to seeing more of everybody here soon because we’re going to be doing this.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:59:32) – It’s going to be a monthly series of different topics. And thank you again to this inaugural panel. And we look forward to seeing you all soon.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:59:40) – Thank you. Bye. Bye.
Rebecca Taylor: (00:59:41) – Bye. Thanks, everybody. Have a good day. Thank you.