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Why you need internal advocates for change management

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So, you’ve decid­ed to ditch annu­al appraisals and are mov­ing towards a con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment mod­el (CPM). Change man­age­ment is a vital part of the cul­ture you’re look­ing to cre­ate through mov­ing to CPM. Accord­ing to a Forbes Insights and PMI sur­vey of more than 500 exec­u­tives, 85% of respon­dents say change man­age­ment is crit­i­cal to their suc­cess in these times of dis­rup­tion.” This is an area you need to get right and there are a spe­cif­ic group of indi­vid­u­als who can help you — inter­nal advocates. 

You might have pur­chased soft­ware to com­pli­ment your grand plans to switch to CPM and your senior man­age­ment team might be ready for the trans­for­ma­tion that’s going to take place. Sounds idyl­lic! Until you real­ize you need the buy-in from every­one across the orga­ni­za­tion in order to ensure adop­tion of the sys­tem and any new process­es you put in place. How do you go about doing that? And how do you ensure the new way of doing things are maintained? 

You are going to need inter­nal advo­cates to lock in sup­port from all facets of the business.

Why are inter­nal advo­cates so vital?

Imag­ine if you could clone your­self and set your­selves free to cham­pi­on con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment across the orga­ni­za­tion. Well, you don’t need to. As change experts Prosci say, The best change man­age­ment process­es include an effec­tive process for man­ag­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al change and a com­pan­ion process for man­ag­ing indi­vid­ual change. It is this part­ner­ship or inte­gra­tion of orga­ni­za­tion­al and indi­vid­ual change that ulti­mate­ly pro­duces results.” Inter­nal advo­cates help to dri­ve indi­vid­ual change as they work at the team lev­el and have the abil­i­ty to take on the work of a small army to keep the momen­tum of the cul­tur­al shift you’re mak­ing alive. 

How do you find advocates?

Not all heroes wear capes, in fact your cham­pi­ons might be peo­ple who will sur­prise you. Don’t expect those with­in the busi­ness who are pos­i­tive about the changes to nat­u­ral­ly become your advo­cates. In fact, you should aim to seek out tough cook­ies too, we’ll get into that a bit later. 

Senior Advo­cates

You are going to need to main­tain that senior lead­er­ship buy-in. Encour­ag­ing them to con­tribute to com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mes­sag­ing to all staff dur­ing the change peri­od is going to be vital. You’ll nat­u­ral­ly find some senior advo­cates this way. For exam­ple, those will­ing to be filmed for short videos or those who want to par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­ni­ca­tions are an easy win. 

Team Advo­cates

Find­ing depart­men­tal or team advo­cates could take a bit longer. You’ll need to find 1 – 2 per depart­ment or team poten­tial­ly. You can either ask peo­ple to put them­selves for­ward or use the tech you’ve invest­ed in to see who a top user is. And for those who aren’t tak­ing to the sys­tem at all, there is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty here.

Want to learn more?

Take our lat­est course on Chang­ing Per­for­mance Cul­ture” for free, where we explore more about change management. 

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Tack­le the tough cookies

Clear Review cus­tomers, Per­fec­tHome, decid­ed to ral­ly sup­port from those in the busi­ness who they knew might resist the new tech, and turned them into advocates:

It’s tempt­ing to go for the peo­ple who you think will embrace some­thing like this, but I want­ed to get the cyn­ics on board as well. I delib­er­ate­ly chose peo­ple who I thought might be skep­ti­cal of check-ins and con­tin­u­ous feed­back.” — Kevin Holling­worth, Head of Peo­ple and Engagement 

Kevin, goes on to tell us that although it was tough, it real­ly paid off as those advo­cates have tak­en on run­ning ses­sions to upskill their col­leagues and cham­pi­on the tool at every turn. 

What’s in it for them?

Your advo­cates are going to be part of some­thing big­ger than them­selves. They are going to be lead­ing the charge to change your orga­ni­za­tion for the bet­ter. There is a huge sense of sat­is­fac­tion and pride in being part of a move­ment that is going to change per­for­mance man­age­ment for them­selves and their col­leagues. Just don’t for­get to thank them and ensure they feel the love from HR!

What kind of activ­i­ties should your advo­cates be doing?

We’ve spo­ken to a lot of our cus­tomers who get their advo­cates doing a whole host of things, here are a few examples:

  • Teach­ing their team – upskilling your advo­cates to use your new sys­tem or host ses­sions on how to use it will save you time in the long run!
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tions – ask­ing your advo­cates to par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­ni­ca­tions activ­i­ties to cham­pi­on the changes your mak­ing will strength­en the mes­sages; peo­ple want to hear from oth­er peo­ple with­in the busi­ness about real differences
  • Sug­ges­tions – your advo­cates are going to have their ears close to the ground, so take on board their sug­ges­tions as they will come from across the organization
  • Sound­ing board – before mak­ing any big changes to how your plan­ning to roll out your con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment process­es bring your advo­cates togeth­er to see what they think 
  • Go pub­lic and attract new tal­ent – don’t be shy about cham­pi­oning the way you’ve changed your inter­nal cul­ture, it will attract new tal­ent, your advo­cates can help you make awe­some con­tent to high­light these pos­i­tive changes and improve your employ­er brand 

Advo­cates in tough times

Your advo­cates are going to be there to sup­port what is vital work to ensure your orga­ni­za­tion and peo­ple remain pro­duc­tive, sup­port­ed and oper­a­tional in tough times. 

We know that these five key steps keep peo­ple feel­ing moti­vat­ed, sup­port­ed and pro­duc­tive, but that is tough from a dis­tance. As more orga­ni­za­tions decide to ditch their offices in favour of longer-term remote work­ing, teams tend to fil­ter off into silos as the cof­fee and lunch chats near enough dis­ap­pear. Your advo­cate group can help to fos­ter con­nec­tion between dif­fer­ent teams and ral­ly sup­port for your new sys­tem or process­es by being your ears to the ground. They can ask their teams what’s work­ing and what’s not and can give feed­back to HR

They are a key group of stake­hold­ers from across the busi­ness that will keep cham­pi­oning the use of any sys­tems and process­es you have imple­ment­ed and can deter­mine the suc­cess of the changes you want to make. 

Take the free course on Chang­ing Per­for­mance Cul­ture” on the Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Academy!

Learn every­thing you need to know about change man­age­ment in our lat­est course on the Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Acad­e­my. This course is full of prac­ti­cal exer­cis­es as well as use­ful resources you can use to man­age change in your organization. 

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