What are people thinking about change in 2022 – specifically the change taking place where they work?
To find out, Notion Consulting went to the source. This past summer, we surveyed people who work in large companies to tell us about their experiences with change. Respondents represented the workforce as a whole, ranging from front-line staff to C-Suite executives, diverse in age, gender, race, location, and industry.
The Change Report 2022 summarizes what we heard, what it means, and what leaders can do to make their next organizational change experience positive, successful, and sustainable.
We asked how much and what kinds of change they’ve experienced, what went well and what didn’t, how they would grade their company’s efforts, and much more. Once the input was sliced and diced, five takeaways rose to the surface:
- The pace of change is almost overwhelming. Fully 75% of those surveyed said they have experienced 3 or more major changes in the past year. Changes like new leadership (65% went through that); new processes or procedures (65%); and new technology systems (50%). And from 25% to 40% said they introduced new products, entered new markets, changed their workplace, or went through mergers, reorganizations or layoffs.
- Attitudes vary dramatically based on where people sit. Leaders are optimistic about the outcomes of change. Three-fourths of the C-Suite execs can be classified as Champions of change – six times more than their individual contributors.
- The C-Suite is out of sync with the rest of the organization. These senior executives tend to view change through rose-colored glasses that prevent them from seeing how their employees – and even their management teams – feel about change. In turn, this keeps them from providing the substantive leadership, support, training, and information that will make the change a sustainable success.
- Successful change needs more human connection and empathy. When offered the chance to give their CEO a bit of advice about change, our survey respondents weren’t shy. Overwhelmingly, they pointed to three key aspects of leadership: to be transparent about what’s going on, listen to our ideas and suggestions, and respect us as human beings.
- Managing change matters – and how it’s done can impact results. Organizations that follow best practices for managing change have better outcomes such as positive employee perception, optimal financial and operational impacts, and higher talent retention and engagement. Paying attention to these activities can boost success and improve the experience for employees.
Change is about people – their experiences, their behaviors, and their mindsets. Leaders who understand this, who take the time to be curious, open-minded, and empathetic, will reap the benefits. Those who don’t, could lose key talent, valued customers, and ultimately the integrity of their bottom line. It’s a delicate but very meaningful balance.
For more on what we heard, what it means, and what leaders can do to make the next organizational change experience positive, successful, and sustainable, download the report here.