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Article authored by Qualigence founder & CEO Steve Lowisz

As businesses reopen and lockdowns end, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we’re “returning to normal.” But in reality, we’re nowhere near “normal.”

The economy is still a roller coaster. The market has changed considerably. And the pandemic is still affecting our daily lives. Even once this all passes, it will have forever changed many aspects of consumer behavior.

We haven’t returned to normal yet, and we probably never will. I highlight these issues to emphasize the fact that the only constant businesses can count on is change. Any savvy HR team or leader knows we must respond with agility to new shifts, changing our approach on the fly as the situation evolves.

Unfortunately, effective change is not a strong point for most people or businesses. I believe that HR teams can play a crucial role in facilitating successful change if they look at it from the right perspective and apply the right tools. Allow me to explain further.

Change Is Hard — But It’s More Achievable Than You Think

There’s no doubt that organizational change is difficult. It requires a careful strategy, effective leadership and concerted effort over a period of time. However, one of the biggest obstacles to change is our attitude toward it.

Book after book has been written about the challenges and hazards of organizational change. There are loads of articles, courses, etc. about the pitfalls and best practices. And we all know people personally who resist even small changes to their work.

As a result, we are often pessimistic about a team’s ability to change … and you can’t initiate successful change if you’re a pessimist about the possibility.

Most People Are Better At Change Than We Give Them Credit For

The truth is that while some people do struggle with change, others adapt to change very easily. Furthermore, seemingly “stubborn” people are usually able to change much more than we give them credit for. Unfortunately, many leaders and HR teams gloss over this point. They see employees who are “stuck in their ways” and throw up their hands in frustration.

The key is understanding what our people need in order to adjust and doing our best to accommodate those needs.

For most people, change is a lot easier when they understand why changes are occurring. Some may need to have a transparent, open conversation about new changes. Others may need to be presented with hard data on why the changes are beneficial to the team. Other team members may willingly accept changes, but need time to adjust or prefer to go through the process in phases.

For example, many companies experience resistance with D&I initiatives because they haven’t explained why D&I is so beneficial to the business. If we want to successfully change, we need people to buy-in, and we have to explain changes to make that happen.

Leaders and HR departments often jump to conclusions about what their teams need to adapt. They provide data when the teams need to hear the emotional side of why changes are necessary or vice versa. If they do make an effort to understand what teams need, it’s often a one-time survey or another flawed method of gaining data.

Our ability to change rests on how well we understand our teams. We can’t rely on gut feel, guesswork or flawed survey methods to understand what teams need to adapt.

Behavioral Analytics Allow Us To Skip The Guesswork

HR teams in 2020 have an incredibly powerful tool at their disposal — behavioral analytics. In a nutshell, behavioral analytics allow you to have better insight into the drivers behind individual and team behavior.

They give you an understanding of why individuals act the way they do, allowing you to predict how they might act in different situations. These analytics are incredibly valuable for a variety of HR initiatives and business applications, including organizational change.

We use an analytics platform from the Predictive Index that’s scientifically validated and oriented around the workplace. They use assessments that can be completed in a matter of minutes and provide customized reports. With these platforms, you can quickly gain a comprehensive understanding of why an individual or team might resist change.

In fact, I’ve found that these analytics allow us to get a deeper understanding of our team than we ever got through traditional methods, like interviews or surveys. Those methods are certainly valuable, but alone they don’t give us the full picture.

By getting a deeper understanding of what drives our teams, we can provide highly targeted support as they adjust to change. You can identify what type of people we need to hire. You can also direct additional support to those who will struggle and develop customized solutions for teams with different needs.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to navigating change — and behavioral analytics allow you to develop the approach best for your unique organization.

We Are Either Changing Or We Are Dying

I get it — change is scary. But the fact of the matter is that change has always been a part of our lives and it always will be. HR and business leaders have to internalize that we either adapt or die as the market changes. And the thing about markets is they rarely stay the same for long.

The changes we are currently experiencing always seem the most stressful or insurmountable, but that’s just because we are living through them. Successful change initiatives start with us believing in our ability to adapt and embracing the situation as an opportunity for growth. It all starts with business leaders and HR.

If you’d like to chat more about how to lead successful change at your organization and get the most from your teams, schedule a consultation with our team today.