Mitigating political sensitivities of change

Business politics can be one of the main challenges when looking to drive successful business change. However, the careful navigation of internal politics is a factor that is often overlooked. Here are three ways that effective change can be achieved while ensuring that political sensitivities are managed.

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1. Communicate

When faced with change, the natural reaction of most people is to consider the personal impact this will have on them. A good change programme should consider the implications of the suggested approach for each employee. Consequently it should offer support mechanisms right from the very beginning.

In turn, this will also make it easier to anticipate and mitigate any setbacks. By building in buffer time and creating a communications strategy you are able to pre-empt any issues.

2. Map out stakeholder groups

While focus is usually placed on senior stakeholders, influencers are in fact often spread across the business and may be found in many different positions. By mapping out stakeholder groups at an early stage in the change programme, it becomes far easier to determine who the true influencers are within an organisation. The easiest and most effective way to do this is by spending time with employees and gaining a better understanding of the workforce and its dynamics.

3. Review the reasons behind resistance

It can be easy to dismiss resistance as defiance when coordinating a transformation programme. However, it is important to consider whether there is an underlying reason for this behaviour. Different people have different worries and similarly respond to different methods of communication.

As such, thought should be given to how the change process can be organised. This will ensure that it reflects the needs of the majority of employees. By adopting this approach from the start, change managers can help businesses to avoid costly and time-consuming resistance throughout the project.

4. Hybrid working difficulties

Communicating with employees to determine what works for them may be beneficial to employers to work out whether a hybrid approach will suit them. For staff struggling to work from home, provisions should be made to ensure there are permanent spaces available for those who choose to make the daily commute and should be considered when sourcing new office space.

5. Remaining open to internal business change

It is crucial for employers to understand that no one has perfected this new way of working and that they may even feel the need for more change after an office revamp. Recent years have shown that organisations should be prepared for the possibility of changing methods of working almost instantaneously, although most likely not to the same extent as the 2020 pandemic. Regular research into how other organisations are implementing agile working and updating methods as required could help employers who feel a business transformation is needed. Communication with the workforce will also allow employers to see if and where change for good may need to be made in future.

For employers to reap the benefits of an office revamp they need to understand exactly what is required from an office space whilst ensuring the needs of the workforce are also met. Investing in modern IT and assessing workforce needs are just some ways to ensure an increase in efficiency and productivity amongst staff, whilst regular industry research and communication with employees will create a better working environment.