People Overlooked in Change Programs as Financial and Technical Activities Take Priority
A survey of CoreNet Global members has revealed that at the beginning of a change program, corporate real estate professionals focus primarily on financial (43 percent) and technical (40 percent) change, rather than on the impact it will have on the people in their organizations.
However, less than a fifth (18 percent) said that they focused on people and resistance management activities as a priority. Interestingly as the change program continued, attention shifted increasingly to the human element of change, with respondents spending between 25 to 50 percent of their time on resistance management and just a quarter of their time on technical and financial issues.
The survey, conducted by CoreNet Global with support from the change management executives at Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions (GWS), provides an insight into how corporate real estate professionals manage change.
Dr. Jim Bohn, Director of Global Change Management at Johnson Controls explains: “Traditionally change management programs have focused very heavily on the technical and financial aspects of change – so it is unsurprising that at the beginning of a change program it is still these areas that preoccupy executives. However, for change to be successful, managing resistance and winning hearts and minds should be given priority right from the word go. While it is positive that more time is ultimately spent on resistance management than on any other activity, we are still missing a trick by not focusing on people at an earlier stage in the process. This oversight could potentially threaten the success of our change programs in the long term.”
The survey also revealed that:
- 72 percent of respondents have a standard process to manage change
- 52 percent felt middle managers are the group most resistant to change
- 48 percent felt the best approach to downsizing teams was to communicate directly with employees
- Resistance by employees was most often demonstrated by the reluctance to share important information and the development of cliques unsupportive of change
- More than 90 percent believed the best way to manage resistance was to get employees involved
- The average change process lasts six to twelve months
- Key factors of a successful change process were communication and executive support
Bohn continues: “Many of these results, such as the fact that the most resistance comes from middle management, are consistent with other leading academic research into change. This shows that our daily observations and experiences also reflect those had by professionals across other industries and sectors.”
John David (JD) Hughes, Research Associate for CoreNet Global, explains: “CoreNet Global’s research encompasses a wide range of subjects to enable members and partners to share corporate real estate and workplace management best practice and thought leadership. Our CoreNet Global Change Management Survey, undertaken with Johnson Controls GWS, analyzed how members perceived change management within their organizations and the methodology behind convincing individuals to accept change and make that change more effective.”
The CoreNet Global Change Management Survey was completed by 44 corporate real estate professionals.