Top five tips on implementing change

The top five tips on implementing change we learned at the Landing Transformational Change Conference, hosted by the University of Bath's School of Management

1) Bring your people with you
Robert Hands, executive managing editor of The Times and The Sunday Times, explained that in his experience it's vital to include the people in every step. "That might seem obvious but it is really important," he said.

During the implementation of new software Hands saw some experienced journalists feeling left behind when their more junior colleagues understood the technology quicker than they did. "They felt they were being undermined by whizz kids," he said. To mitigate this issue he oversaw the training of a team of tech leaders who would be able to provide support and advice to their colleagues.

2) Cultivate a culture of helpfulness
Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur, businesswoman and school advisory board member, discussed generating a culture of helpfulness rather than competitiveness in the workplace. "In my experience the only transformations that have worked are the ones where everyone helped everybody, and nothing less will do," she said. "You want to build a company where everyone works with everyone."

She expressed concern that schools do not focus enough on creating a collaboration culture. "Schools teach children to compete," she said. "We used to teach collaboration though team sports, but with less playing fields there is less opportunity for that."

3) Ensure you have senior-level buy-in
Jeanette Harris, HR business partner at Zurich Insurance Group, stressed the importance of having a senior leadership team that is committed to the change cause. "You need this senior-level buy-in to ensure your leadership team is talking with a single voice," she told HR magazine. "We held an off-site day for our leadership team to clarify our values before we started [the change programme], and created an infographic from that, which we shared with everyone in the company."

However, Harris also highlighted the need to communicate the leaders' vision with the rest of the employees. "It has to be visible," she said. "We all gave up our offices, even the CEO, to create a less formal approach to work. We wanted an office where we could all talk to each other."

4) Ensure leaders are visible to your team
Veronica Hope Hailey, dean of the Bath School of Management, said that senior leaders must be seen in order to build trust. "If you are leading the change you must be visible and allow yourself to be seen by your people," she told HR magazine. "People learn to trust you through your behaviour in front of them, not through your emails or blogs. They want to see that you're not self-serving, and that you care about them, and you have integrity."

5) Do not give up when you run into problems
Laura Harrison, director of people and strategy for the CIPD, told HR magazine that problems should be expected and accepted. "Don't be put off by resistance to change," she said. "That's perfectly normal; if that's not happening then you're not being ambitious enough.

"That doesn't mean you shouldn't listen when people raise concerns. However, no change programme ever ran perfectly oiled and smoothly."