With the evolving workplace within the ‘New World of Work’, organisations must prepare for the increasing diversity, changing employee demographics and the evolving definitions of work. It may be necessary to change and adapt as the technology and processes evolve, and the mindset of each individual person will impact upon how smoothly this change will occur.
The workforce in 2020 will be more diverse, with many different nationalities and cultures working side by side. Leaders in a workplace need to be flexible, able to meet the needs of the millennial generation, generation and the baby boomers. Creating a culture which embraces all of the generational differences and encourages cohesion and development is crucial for a business to succeed. Leaders also need to be aware of potential bias from older employees as the younger generation moves into the workforce, and make sure that each employee is judged on results and not preconceptions.
When it comes to addressing change, culture is crucial in ensuring success. Employees need to be open and receptive to change, otherwise any change is likely to fail. The most basic definition of organisational culture is to say, ‘that’s how we do it around here’, but a more comprehensive and workable definition would be the shared norms, patterns, values and behaviours central to the operation of an organisation. To be successful, leaders need to understand and recognise the existing culture, and be able to build upon the way that their employees think, behave and work when it comes time to implement a change, rather than try to alter the workplaces processes in a manner which is contrary to the existing culture.
These mindset challenges starts from the executive. As the CEO drives the change, they need a strong executive core who they wholly trust. It can’t just be taken for granted that the executives will agree and assist in the implementation of change either, but rather the change needs to be considered and workshopped multiple times, working out the best process and the particulars which are supported and those which may create conflict. However, once it is time to roll out the changes, it is important to include every level. Receiving in input from each layer of the organisation may draw attention to issues which were previously unnoticed, or an innovation which hadn’t been considered. A good leader will be able to draw out this cohesive collaboration, drawing and building upon the existing culture of the company.
If there are employees who are not as open to the change, attempting to forcefully change their mindset may not be the most effective approach. Rather, alter behaviours, introduce the new behaviours into the workplace and as they learn and apply themselves, employees will see the puzzle pieces come together and potentially come to appreciate the bigger picture that the change presents.
Finally, leaders need to be ready to assess and adapt. Being able to recognise that a proposed change is not going to work, or identifying any issues that arise throughout the process, and being able to create a solution which works within the culture of the workplace is essential for the long term plans in relation to organisation change. There needs to be a short term vision which is adaptable in order to be able to reach the projected final position for the organisation.