5 Ways to Take the Sting Out of Culture Change


Change isn’t easy. But it is inevitable. With the recent and rapid changes taking place in talent and performance management, many HR leaders are finding themselves in the uncomfortable role of change-maker. Here are five tactics for making that evolution go a little easier on you and your organization.

Performance and talent management is evolving. But for many of us, our companies have a little catching up to do. New advances in organizational psychology, the advent of cloud and mobile technology, and the shifting needs of a more demanding workforce mean we can’t fall back on the old methods of grooming and managing employees anymore.

The good news is, feedback, coaching, recognition and mentoring are all proven ways to drive real results and increase engagement and productivity.

The bad news is, if you don’t currently have a great platform for coaching and feedback, you’re going to need to make some change in your organization, and train managers on the new way. 

Here are five tips that can help make that easier for everyone:

  1. Figure out the problems you are solving: Don’t make change for the sake of it. Spend some time understanding the pain dissatisfactions that the status quo has created on every level of your organization. Understand what you want to achieve instead. If you can connect change to the pain people are feeling and their own desire for more, they will be more open to your proposals.
  2. Don’t make change in a vacuum: Even if you are CEO, you will never succeed by just imposing change on people.  Do your homework and talk to people. When you think you have the answers, review them with key stakeholders: leaders, managers and employees, to be sure that people feel bought in to your solutions. The more people feel they’ve had a voice in the new vision, the more likely they will be to champion it for you.

  1. Communicate the “what” and the “why”: You will need both a vision and a plan to work together as you proceed with change management—particularly in the area of performance management.  Yes, your organization will need to know exactly what tasks must be completed. But tasks aren’t enough. They should also understand the big picture. What are the end goals? How do they fit in with your vision and your people strategy and your company values? Laying this out for everyone will not only win you more support—it will make people more autonomous and agile, and help you move faster.
  2. Hold people accountable: Change isn’t something you can do alone, so be sure you’re not the only one on the hook for change. The roadmap you’ve created should have deliverables and timelines and people assigned to them, so it can’t get marooned in a sea of apathy. Everyone should be assigned and do a part.
  3. Don’t try to do it all at once: Just because you’ve mapped out your vision and plan does NOT mean you need to implement it all at once. On the contrary, if you’re working with an experienced platform provider (like us!) you can strategize on which features to roll out when, building core competencies before overwhelming employees with a to-do list and a lot of new learning curves. Taking things one step at a time can feel like the slow road, but in the end, the change will be far more effective and integrated into your culture!

For more advice on evolving your performance management solutions, look for newest guide: Belling the Cat: A No-Nonsense Recipe for Performance Management Evolution, coming soon. For more about using your feedback and coaching solution to ease other kinds of change management, check out our Change Management Through Coaching & Feedback Guide.