managing change resilience

Managing Change When It’s the Only Constant

The tech industry thrives on change, and the ability to quickly adjust and capitalize on new ideas is critical to business success. As the industry faces organizational change amid layoffs, organizational realignments, and initiatives designed to boost customer engagement, tech optimization, and efficiency, organizations can experience a high level of upheaval.

These disruptions can have significant business implications, hindering an organization’s ability to stabilize and realize the intended value of its investments. This risk is heightened by issues with employee engagement and performance. A recent survey by Propeller uncovered that employees are experiencing higher levels of change, with the pace and negative impacts of change hitting particularly hard in the fast-paced world of tech: just 36% of the tech employees surveyed report overall satisfaction with organizational realignments, compared to 50% in financial services and manufacturing.

In this environment, it is more important than ever for leaders to manage the cumulative impact of transformations to ensure that employees have the reserves to tackle the next high-value change and that the business can see the return on investment from its transformations. Here’s how to get started:

  • Adopt a transformation portfolio approach: Organizations often invest significant time into understanding and intentionally managing the impact of a single transformation. However, when transformations occur in parallel (a necessity to keep pace), leaders often overlook the cumulative impact. Treat change as a portfolio and establish lightweight processes to review the transformation landscape for your teams. To add additional weight to the portfolio, consider formal touchpoints, such as assessing the change picture at each decision point in an initiative. Ensure that both formal leaders and informal influencers are part of this process to maximize buy-in across initiatives.
  • Focus on employee training and development: Given the rapid introduction of new technologies and methodologies, continuous learning and development are crucial. Integrating training into teams’ routines can garner buy-in, encourage autonomy, generate excitement, and build a long-term ability to adopt change more quickly.
  • Scale through operating models: Tech companies often need to scale solutions quickly to meet growing demand. Consider how teams will work together once a transformation is underway or change is introduced. Building cross-functional clarity and ownership—for example, between engineers, product managers, marketers, and sales teams—is key to ensuring that any new transformations are fully absorbed and that it’s clear who owns what both in the short and long term.
  • Preserve core cultural values and agility: Identify the cultural values that have driven the organization’s success and determine how to mainstream them through each iteration of transformation. Consider what culture elements are critical to keep and what energy can be built upon to expand the organization’s impact. As part of this cultural underpinning, ensure that agility stays at the core—a critical tool to being able to evolve in an ever-changing landscape. This focus helps maintain cohesive and intentional ways of working that remain responsive, agile, and open to change and innovation.
  • Recognize the art and science of managing change: Managing ongoing transformation involves both science (measurement, methodology) and art (culture, leadership, engagement). The art involves engaging teams in the process, setting a vision for transformation, and building resilience (the organization’s capacity to withstand and adapt to various changes and disruptions effectively). The science involves intentionally measuring, monitoring and adjusting change capacity (the ability of the group to absorb changes), change impacts (the effects of a change initiative), and saturation (the point at which a team experiences an overload).

By their very nature, tech companies have a culture open to change, but this does not negate the need for management to intentionally prevent burnout and maximize the return on their transformation investments. By adopting a purposeful approach to managing the cumulative effects of change, you can build and maintain a change-resilient culture and help your company stay responsive and adaptable in the face of continual transformation.

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