How to Ensure Your Employees Don’t Declare Their Own Independence Day

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To my American colleagues and readers, let me wish you a very happy and safe Independence Day celebration. May you and yours enjoy the holiday to celebrate that which is most important to you and your family as well as the history and freedom of the country in which you live.

For the rest of my readers, the American Independence Day gives us all an opportunity to pause and think about our own employees.

Given the means to do so, would they declare independence from us (our organizations) or proclaim their loyalty to us? Or, perhaps, would they waffle indifferently in the middle?

Lack of a clear path causes resistance to change

One of my go-to bloggers, Paul Hebert, recently asked this question in the context of the American Revolution, noting that American colonists at the time were fairly evenly divided with a third loyal to Britain, a third revolutionaries, and a third hedging their bets to see what happened.

As Paul pointed out:

Translating this to your own company I’m guessing that you’re employee population will overlay quite nicely with these numbers.  You probably have 30 percent of your employees really wanting to change, another 30 percent fighting tooth and nail to keep things the same and 30 percent who are waiting to see which way the wind blows.”

Change is inevitable. It’s also often highly desirable if you can control how the change is perceived and implemented by all. That’s the catch. How do you get all of your employees on board with where you need them to go? How do you cast a vision that excites and motivates, while simultaneously offering a clear path to achieve the goal?

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The key to effective change management

It’s the lack of that clear path that often leads to resistance to change. Those “fighting tooth and nail to keep things the same” often do so because when things remain the same, they know what’s expected of them every day. They know what they’re supposed to do.

And that’s the key to effective change management – giving employees clear and explicit instructions on what it is they need to do to achieve the new goals. Give them the assurance of a clear path. Do that by clearly communicating these changes first, and then frequently, specifically and in a timely way recognizing and rewarding them for taking those steps along the new path.

What are you doing to ensure your employees aren’t planning their own revolution?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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