One of the most challenging things about change for any organisation is facing the unknown.
You may know what needs to change, or why you want to change, but can you ever really be sure how the process will go – and, more importantly, what it will cost?
This uncertainty is never more acute than when you look at the human factors which can influence the way change is implemented. Some people are simply more adaptable to change than others – and some have a stronger attachment to their current ways and bad habits.
Whenever any change is implemented, the workplace itself goes through a transition process which may take longer than the change itself. For example, if a workplace were introducing a change in working hours or shift patterns, that might happen overnight. The transition for the team, however, will take much longer, as they accept the change and adapt to it.
Any manager considering change needs to weight up the potential costs of change against the costs of not implementing that change. While it can seem easier to maintain the status quo rather than causing upheaval, the reality is that doing nothing could be costing you money.
So where do you start?
Looking at the costs of change can feel daunting, so we’ve created a simple formula to help you make sure the numbers stack up and give you the confidence to implement change as effectively as possible.
Calculate your answers to the following questions:
- How many employees are likely to be affected by the changes in your organisation?
- On average, how much non-productive time is spent per week by each employee reacting against the changes – or on worrying, gossiping, speculating and rumour-mongering activities?
- How many weeks has this been going on for?
- How many weeks will it continue for if you do nothing?
Then use these numbers in the following formulae:
- The number of hours lost so far: a x b x c = x
- The number of additional hours that could be lost in future: a x b x d =y
- How much it could be costing you financially: (x + y) x average employee hourly rate
Of course, this doesn’t take into account any additional potential revenue which you may have missed, such as if your sales team has failed to focus on the needs of your customers in the way that would have generated more profit for you. In reality, the cost is probably even higher than these calculations suggest.
In considering change, no doubt you’ve done some calculations of your own, looking at how your new system, set-up or project could make the business more successful. Compare those figures with the amount you’re currently losing and suddenly, the need to manage change effectively becomes even more urgent. Resistance from employees not only costs you money now, but also delays the benefits you should be getting from your plans.
If you’re preparing for change, our advice would be to consider all the costs first. Weigh up the cost of staying as you are against the cost of change, then analyse how much higher the cost of that change will be if you don’t implement it effectively.
Rather than waste money down the line as your employees struggle to get to grips with transition and resist a change they have never fully embraced, invest from the outset in getting everyone on board. It will reward you with significant savings in the long run and enable you to reap the benefits of change much sooner.
Don’t worry if you looked at this and thought, Oh no, maths! We have created a worksheet that will help you with the calculation. This is a great exercise to complete with your colleagues, as it builds the momentum to take control of the change and do something different. So, once you have downloaded it, print out a few copies.