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Less than two-thirds of banking leaders consider their people when making organisational changes

iStock 1171786332 - Global Banking | Finance

Less than two-thirds of banking leaders consider their people when making organisational changes 

Traditional change management practices fail to prioritise employees

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 just 64 per cent of banking leaders take their employees into account when deciding to enact business-wide changes. And the same number – 64 per cent – actively 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 3,033 from the banking sector.

“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 almost a third of banking employees (30 per cent) believe that the organisational changes they have experienced were either poorly managed, or they were left feeling indifferent to how the changes were 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.”

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