Organisational changes are commonplace, from changes in management structure and departmental responsibilities through to implementing a new organisation-wide IT platform. However, latest research from O.C. Tanner reveals that less than half of U.K. leaders (47 per cent) take their employees into account when deciding to enact business-wide changes. And just 44 per cent of U.K. senior leaders seek employee opinions as changes are rolled-out. These are the findings from O.C. Tanner’s 2024 Global Culture Report which gathered data and insights from more than 42,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners, and executives from 27 countries worldwide including 4,818 from the U.K.

“Organisational changes can have far-reaching impacts on the workforce” says Robert Ordever, European MD of O.C. Tanner. “Regardless of whether these changes are strategic, structural, technological or people-centric, by not considering employees and seeking their feedback before rolling-out change, this is a recipe for disaster, potentially leading to widespread frustration, cynicism and disengagement!“

The Report suggests that traditional change management practices, which tend to be linear, top-down, and process-oriented, are no longer fit for our evolving work environments. They also fail to involve employees in the planning, thereby underestimating and under-prioritising the organisation’s people.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that just over half of U.K. employees (53 per cent) believe that the organisational changes they have experienced were well-managed. 23 per cent felt they were poorly managed and the remaining 24 per cent were indifferent to how change was enacted.

Ordever says, “It’s crucial that an organisation’s people are the centre of change strategies. This approach will not only remove friction from change management processes, but will increase employee wellbeing and strengthen workplace culture.”

The Report recommends that effective change management must first start with nurturing a culture where employees have high trust and feel appreciated and valued. Decentralising the change management process so managers at all levels can be involved is also important, together with ensuring regular, transparent communications and that all employees have a voice.

When employees have a voice in organisational changes, they are eight times’ more likely to have feelings of trust, are five times’ more likely to have a sense of community and thriving at work is three times’ more likely.

Ordever adds, “The truth is that no organisational change is going to be effective or lasting without the buy-in of employees. And the sooner leaders recognise this and ensure the organisation’s people are always considered, the more successful any changes will be.”