How to Create Change at Work that Lasts

on August 16, 2017

Change starts HERE.

Awesome motto, right? But how do we create change at work? After all, as anyone who has tried to get used to that new login & password knows… charge is hard! It’s a process, not an event.

Luckily for Root, there’s a plethora of social psychology research (e.g. Olson, 1992; Olson & Zanna, 1987) focused on behavior and mindset change for us to leverage and share with our clients. Below are a few barriers to be aware of when developing a change program, as well as tips to incorporate strategies for overcoming them in your change solutions.

Three Barriers to Avoid When Creating Change at Work

Barrier #1—Lack of Awareness or Knowledge.

People cannot change their behaviors if they don’t know change is needed or how to proceed. They need information about how to initiate a change at work, why it’s important, where to go for help, how long to continue, etc.

Solutions:

  1. Provide basic information and skills relevant to the new, desired behavior.
  2. Break down complex behaviors into more manageable components. Teach complex skills through step-by-step mastery (needing to master each step before continuing to the next).
  3. Articulate specific benefits the person will gain by adopting the new behaviors (efficiency, sales, etc.).

Barrier #2—Lack of Perceived Improvement.

People will often discontinue an action because they do not notice improvements.

Solutions:

  1. Set realistic expectations regarding time investments and results.
  2. Schedule follow-ups to maintain motivation.
  3. Use “rewards” and set specific goals.
  4. Identify which improvements can occur quickly and which will take more time.

Barrier #3—Lack of Environment or Process Support.

A supportive social environment is often an important predictor of long-term success in changing behaviors at work.

Solutions:

  1. Help people form teams or networks to implement new behaviors together (for example, create teams and competitions).
  2. Create opportunities for individuals who have embraced the change to interact with those who have not (for example, mentoring).
  3. Enhance communication and availability of resources regarding the change, which will encourage discussions.

Creating Change at Work IS Possible… Just Avoid the Common Barriers

The extent to which people are resistant to change and the change process itself can have a huge impact on whether the change is embraced. To set up our clients for success, we must be prepared for these potential barriers and how to effectively address and manage them.

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