By now we all know that change is inevitable, and therefore critical. The risk of poorly-managed change is much more than the cost of change management efforts.
The consequences could range between project delays, loss of valued employees, plunging productivity, reduced quality of products, and a heavy impact on customers. Why? This is because change is what ensures businesses are still meeting the demands of their customers as well as their team.
So what role does the Learning and Development department play in keeping readiness for change at the forefront? I believe that a business’s adaptability largely depends on the L&D team’s relationship with the company’s line managers and leaders.
How Can L&D Work With Managers to Equip a Business for Future Change?
Ultimately, I believe that line managers play the most influential role in preparing their employees for change. If your L&D team can teach your company’s leaders how to prepare for change, they will be in a position to carry that through the business. Here’s how:
Build a trust culture
Trust has to be the foundation of change. If change is introduced without trust, the anxiety that will fester as a result can cause major unsteadiness in an organisation. So how can L&D play a role in creating a culture of trust? Guidance will come from an external source who has experience. Not only is it beneficial for managers to feel that they can go somewhere for direction, but employees feel safer when they have the assurance that a L&D team brings to the table.
To add to this, L&D can also protect the trust between employees and their managers, as any critical guidance comes from a mediator, rather than inside the business. Employees will naturally feel more open minded when receiving productive criticism from a third party who has specifically approached them from a learning and development perspective, rather than from a manager who they work closely with.
Increased loyalty and retention
Intentionally investing in learning and development opportunities for staff ensures that they feel valued and can find purpose in their jobs, knowing that you’re contributing to their career. This is what builds a valuable team of loyal employees who you as a business have personally invested into, and who have personally invested into you.
It’s also important to note that although it might be more convenient to hire externally to fill important positions, it may firstly be difficult to find someone that has the exact set of skills and experience to qualify them for the job. Secondly, these employees will very likely not be as loyal to your company as an employee who you have invested time, training and effort into in order to grow them into the position.
Enables managers to effectively prepare for what’s ahead
L&D should work directly with leaders to teach them the right learning solutions that they can carry throughout the organisation and equip employees for future obstacles. Change management falls on the responsibility of leaders, and so L&D needs to be a priority if companies want to effectively manage a potential change crisis.
It all comes down to the mindset of your organisation. Does your business have a forward-thinking mindset? If you aren’t being intentional about it, then the answer is no. Are you placing enough value behind being proactive and not reactive? Proactive businesses are the ones we will continue to see still thriving in 5 years and beyond – yes, that’s how quickly a business can go under if they aren’t prepared for change.
Summit makes a point of working closely with businesses to ensure they have the right skills necessary for effective change management. Speak to the Summit team today and let’s chat about how we can use our L&D team to get your business ready to thrive in the future!