Niccolo Machiavelli once said, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” But alas, change is inevitable, and as individuals in HR, it is our responsibility to manage change without negative impact to our current employees while continuing to attract talent that foster the new refreshed culture that change brings.
In our conversations with over 100 global organizations, companies from a variety of industries ask us, “Well, should we wait to focus on our employer brand because there is a major change happening?” I say, the better question to ask is, “How can we leverage the creation or realignment of our employer brand to facilitate change management in our organization?”
An example that comes to mind is the series of companies today that are seeking to shift their image to that of a technology company rather than that of a financial services or telecommunications company. Today, they are branding for the future of the organization, to attract talent that have the skills to accomplish the business goals of the next 5 to 10 years. But are they taking into account the readiness of current employees?
Leading organizations are companies that recognize that their employer brand strategy and EVP can be effective tools in managing organizational change. Let’s dive deeper into what the EVP can do to help with change:
How much do your current employees know of the change that you are trying to facilitate in the organization? Successful change management begins with knowing how current employees perceive your organization. What good is any change management if it doesn’t bridge the gaps between employee perceptions and management vision? For organizations that have begun introducing culture change, these internal evaluations are a good opportunity to know how well the change has been communicated internally and how willing current employees are to adopting change. In the end, this evaluation also helps to uncover where and why there may be resistance to change and point to strategies to address the resistance.
How does external talent perceive your current organization? What impact will the change have on your brand perception in the competitive landscape? How believable will the change be? As part of the EVP development process, it is vital to understand your current image among the talent you most desire. Before introducing a change in your external communication, it may be beneficial to understand how to communicate that change to make it believable and impact your brand perception in the direction you want it to.
When all stakeholders, internal and external, manager to employee, are invited to collaborate and participate in a discussion on developing an EVP, you can be sure you are generating consensus and finding alignment on the values, vision and mission of the company. Through this EVP work, you are also identifying channels of communication that are most effective to communicate to each stakeholder. As part of any change, communication is key, and communicating in the right medium and in relatable language will be the biggest enabler in successful change management.
So, the next time your organization is embarking on a change, take a step back and think about how far reaching and impactful your employer brand can be in facilitating change.