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How to Reinforce Changes in an Organization

No one said change was easy, but a good leader can make it easier. Changing an organization means changing brains, too — and brain change is a challenge. If you meet resistance to change with your employees, don’t be discouraged. Instead, use your leadership skills to make the change smoother and “stickier.”

When current employees must change their way of thinking in order to meet new goals and challenges, resistance may be part of the process. Overriding old networks takes time and practice. The more emotional the new networks are, the stronger they are and the more easily they replace old ones. Motivation and commitment to the new networks also speeds up the process.

In order to reinforce the changes that have taken place from redesigning brains, you need to do the following:

  • Apply new learning: Although some employees may be a little reluctant to implement what they have learned, doing so is a necessary step to rid them of the old habits and instill the new ones. The changes work best if employees apply their new learning immediately. Expect them to need coaching, which can be supplied by your trainer or by other employees who have had more training in the area.

  • Integrate the changes: Make sure that employees at all levels in the department integrate the new way of doing things. The emotional message is “we’re all in this together.” Employees are more likely to help each other if everyone is at similar levels of performance and working on the same strategies, programs, or techniques.

  • Hold employees accountable: After a few weeks of repetition, the new networks in employees’ brains can make smooth connections. At that time, you can start holding employees accountable for utilizing their training. The method you use to measure the level of responsibility that the employees have achieved can vary according to the kind of training they received. It may be a change in profit, productivity, or proficiency. If you find that you aren’t getting the results you expected, you and your employees and perhaps the trainer need to examine where the responsibility lies.

  • Celebrate change: Whether you celebrate onsite or off, recognition and praise are part of keeping employees’ emotional connection to the changes strong.

As you reinforce the new learning, follow the progress of your employees. Doing so assists with the steps described above. You may want to do these three things:

  1. Collect feedback from your newly retrained employees.

    • Provide surveys.

    • Have team meetings.

    • Speak to team leaders.

  2. Use this information to identify problems.

    • Look for lack of motivation.

    • Check stress levels.

    • Identify employees resistant to changes.

  3. Fix the problems.

    • Speak with anyone who may be resistant.

    • Correct misconceptions.

    • Recognize individual successes.

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