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Key Takeaways for Stakeholder Inclusion in Change Management

Contributors: Catherine Ault

Change management has necessary elements of business application and focus, but most importantly, it’s an exercise of people management. A successful change management stakeholder inclusion strategy should meld the organizational change with the firm’s unique culture to decrease change resistance and increase employee buy-in.  

Carefully considering the diversity of ideas and representation of stakeholders will enable a more well-rounded change management effort. Diverse teams outperform individuals 87% of the time during business decision-making processes. Continually being inclusive, open-minded, and thoughtful of others will ease the adoption process of a new change. Organizations should consider applying diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE+I) principles with the same consistency they have with other organizational change management practices to create a space for diverse perspectives and individuals. 

What is Stakeholder Inclusion, and How Can It Help You? 

When building a team to support a change initiative, consider the varied perspectives the group will bring to the table. Change initiatives, if not directly, indirectly affect multiple areas of an organization. Incorporating a variety of voices and perspectives will foster sustainable organizational change and adoption. Employees who consider themselves part of the solution are more likely to support and promote the change. Concerted efforts should be taken to consider individuals from diverse backgrounds to build awareness, engagement, and commitment to accelerate change adoption. Individuals draw on their unique life experiences and knowledge to successfully problem solve, so creating a safe space to which everyone can contribute will bridge the gap between awareness and acceptance of the change. 

When employees feel safe and encouraged, they’re more likely to share their thoughts and think creatively. Why not create an intentional space where everyone has a seat at the table and feels empowered? Employees have more buy-in to their work and feel more engaged when they know their firm values their opinion, diversity of thought, and background. Particularly when an organization is experiencing large-scale change, it’s essential that employees feel heard and seen. Representation of role, responsibility, and background is critical to managing the change impacts of a transformation initiative. Not only do firms with DE+I mindsets have a clear competitive advantage in hiring and retaining employees, but this also impacts their ability to respond and adapt to change quickly.   

What Can You do to Create an Inclusive Work Environment that Fuels Successful Change Management?  

The practice of change management reaches beyond software and organizational strategy and is an opportunity to continuously improve the organization. Make a distinct effort to incorporate inclusive language, content, and delivery into your change management strategy. In a recent Stanford University study, researchers identified that case studies less frequently consider the perspective of minority groups. Of the 250+ case studies reviewed at Stanford, only 16% of the protagonists were women. And when women were referenced in case studies, the language surrounding them differed from their male counterparts. Moreover, exclusionary or biased language can limit an effective communication strategy‘s reach and positive effect. Considering inclusive language training and consciously incorporating it into communication will drive better business practices and adoption.  

Key Takeaways for Stakeholder Inclusion in Change Management:  

  1. Communicate inclusively to employees who are already part of your business and try to grow the diversity of thought and experience in your talent pool.  
  2. When selecting project stakeholders, including individuals with different perspectives and lived experiences to be an active voice ensures the communication of change is representative and digestible by the entire organization. Equipping your team with diverse backgrounds will reduce training assessment oversight and improve delivery.  
  3. Consider formally including DE+I in your organizational strategy and ensure diversity and inclusion align with organizational change management activities. Providing a platform to DE+I as a core component of a project assessment will ensure it’s not an afterthought but rather intentional action. 

For strategic advice on promoting inclusion in the workplace to drive successful change adoption in your organizational change management strategy, please contact us today to learn more about our Change Management Consulting Services. 


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Tags: Change Management