Reinforcement and Change Management

While making a change in an organization is difficult enough, sustaining it can be even harder, which is why it’s imperative to have reinforcements, the last component in the ADKAR model for successful change management. The focus on reinforcement should be strong so that desired results are delivered.

How do you build reinforcement? There are several ways, including through:

  • Celebrations – along the way as changes are taking place, one of the best ways to reinforce the change is to plan for and recognize short-term wins. This serves as a morale booster and helps to deter resistance, which most likely will occur throughout the process, with employees falling back on their old ways.
  • Rewards and recognition by executives and change sponsors.
  • Feedback from management, including saying “thank you”.
  • Corrective actions – if something is not working, be sure to listen to what your employees are saying and take the steps to rectify.
  • Visible performance measurement to effectively manage the change, gives employees tangible targets to achieve.
  • Accountability mechanisms with compensation and incentives consistent with the behavior people are asked to embrace.

Take note that while significant investment must be made in helping people build the awareness, desire, knowledge, and ability to effect change successfully, proactively planning to reinforce a change after it has happened is key. Without reinforcements, you jeopardize your investment being wasted and run the risk that the expected results from the change won’t be fully being realized.

Employees will embrace change only if they see the value of the change and support it—at least enough to give it a try. They also need the skills and ability to do what the change requires. And, they must see people they respect modeling it actively.