Healthcare Conference Tips: Effective ‘Change’ Action Plan

One of the biggest factors necessary to assure effective change is how well do employees respond to the change. Because let's face it. Employees are the one who will actually carry out the change.

Here are the seven key elements of an effective action plan that will facilitate employee acceptance of any change, big or small.

1) What are the goals of the change? What is the change meant to accomplish? Too often, employees are asked to adopt to change. Be that a change in procedure, technology, staffing or relocation, reorganization even downsizing without being told why such a change is mandated.

Now, old school management was to say, “Hey they don't need to be told why, just do it.” But today's workforce they just won't accept, just do it at least not for long. Give employees the big picture.

Our expert mentioned in one of the workplace success audio conferences that employees who understand the overall purpose of the change are far more likely to cooperate with its implementation. Give clear and convincing reasons for the change.Push the change with all the enthusiasm you can master. Because change is frightening and anxiety producing for both people, they need your confidence in the benefits of the change. Tell the benefits loud and clear. Support your reasons for the change with solid evidence. Much like lawyer would build the rationale for his or her takes.

Be detailed. “Because it's good for the company” isn't a sound reason. “Because the studies we've done show that with this change we can shorten the turnaround time from order to delivery at the same time, as we decrease the number of steps you need to take.” That’s a sound reason.

Make it a winning proposition for everyone, the company and to the employees. If in the end, you deliver on your promises, the change does end up benefiting employees in the way you described. Every change you instigate thereafter will be accepted more and more willingly.

2) How will the change be implemented? Even when workers know a change is about to occur and why, they can be anxious about how the change will be implemented. Will outside firms be responsible for implementing the change? Will the change be managed entirely from within?

Healthcare Training Tip: Keep employees informed on a regular basis. Don't be hesitant about providing information even if you need to come back later and say, “Well, we expected to start with part A of the change but we found it makes more sense to start with part B. Here is why and how.”

Use a number of methods to communicate how things will happen. Email, newsletters, bulletin boards, lunch time get together, and a good open door policy. All these will help employees look at the change in a favorable light.

3) Who is involved in the change? How does the change impact specific persons or departments? One of the mistakes companies make in their efforts to bring about change is failing to ask the employees involved how they would like to see the change take place. What concerns those employees have about how the change will impact their work current and future.

Inform employees fully about who will be involved in the change and what is expected of each of them. A well-informed employee can engage in the process successfully and uninformed one cannot.

4) What are the resources available for the change? Make sure there are sufficient materials, training, mentors, seminars whatever else is needed to facilitate the change. Not only that, but make sure the employees involved know well ahead of time what resources they will have access to. The more employees feel secure about what the future holds for them, the less likely they are to sabotage the change or resist it.

Healthcare Event Tip: Conduct informal focus groups. Say free brown bag lunch meeting to get discussion going with employees as to what resources they believe would be helpful. And don't just give their ideas lip service. Employees are often best place to know what is needed to do the job since after all, they are the ones on the job.

Engage employees in the process and the change will be much smoother. Use your most engaged employees to help. In other words, there will always be some employees who embrace the change wholeheartedly from the get-go.

These employees are precious resources for the company in assuring the change process. Ask for these employees’ help in communicating with and motivating those who are less engaged. What resources to these committed employees’ feel would be most helpful? Getting already engaged employees involve fosters, a sense of ownership which they can then transmit to other employees.

5) What's the timeframe? Is the change eminent? Is it a year down the road? What's the timetable and how does that affect those involved? A change that is slow in coming will have an entirely different motivation process than one which is happening next week. The time frame must be taken into account as you plan. How the change will be implemented and how will it affect different departments.

For any substantial change have time lines drawn out that are readily accessible on your company bulletin boards, on computers, such like giving dates when the different phases of the change will kick in. Include who's involved in each stage and who's the “go-to” person for that particular phase of the change. The more information you give employees, the less their anxiety, the more willing they are to cooperate and the easier the change.

6) Who is the “go-to” person?
Or more accurately, who is the “go-to” person for each aspect of the change? Confusion and chaos are the enemies of successful change. In the absence of a well-defined “go-to” person, employees are easily confused and disoriented. They'll ask, “Well, where do I go for this? Who could answer that?”

You don't want your employees in such as a state. Help them out, designate “go-to” persons for each facet of the change and post the names of those individuals where employees can easily find them. Use as many of your already committed to the change employees as those “go-to” individuals as you can.

Have the “go-to” persons report to a designated manager in-charged of the change with any problems or issues they encountered along the way because that is a final element of an effective action plan for change.

7) What are the problems? No matter how carefully you planned for a change, problems arise from bumps in the road to full blown crises. How will you deal with those inevitable problems?

Oh, certainly having “go-to” employees who come to you regularly with the problems. They are made aware of is very useful. Be sure those “go-to” employees have their own “go-to” manager they can turn to when a problem arises.

You can find out about potential problems other ways too by conducting informal focus groups or meetings with the affected departments before and during the change process. Pay attention to company blogs and other sections, sources of information. Problems will often be revealed more readily there.

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