5 ways you can create a change-ready employee culture

Employer Branding

How to get employees ready for change?

It’s a question that is always on our lips, and I was surprised to hear one insight in a current Channel 4 docusoap.

At the moment my indulgence is ‘Grand Indian Hotel‘ and a recent episode didn’t disappoint, providing a hero (in the MD) and their accompanying quote – “this hotel will always be a success because of what it’s doing today. And what it’s thinking about tomorrow.”

The quote might be as cheesy as the programme (sorry guys!) but it chimed with conversations I have had with clients who question how equipped and ready for change they feel their organisations are.

We will always be a success because of what we’re doing today. And what we’re thinking about tomorrow.

We are all used to the notion that change in organisations is inevitable, or indeed, for anyone or anything that wants to prevail and survive. Is there now more change than ever for workplaces and their people to wrangle? Perhaps – nearly all of McKinsey’s 8 CEO priorities for 2024 relate to adapting to significant changes such as harnessing AI, sustainability and unpredictable global politics.

Yet what I am noticing when working with a variety of organisations is not just discomfort with the amount of change but how prepared they are to meet the challenges. To be blunt, businesses are worried about their ability to keep up with their more fleet of foot competition.

The reason for organisational inflexibility for change is a blog post all of its own. Waiting for the ‘right time’ and understandable reluctance to put people through more change are two of many. Yet this can lead to an undercurrent of frustration from employees who want to embrace the next challenge or opportunity their business faces.

Below are five small but effective steps an organisation can take to foster a culture ready for inevitable change:

Empower Employees

Taking ownership and pride for your work feels good regardless of the cultural impact but the additional bonus is it enables people to make decisions autonomously. Even better if you can empower people with the authority and resources they need to take action independently, but even crowd-sourcing of ideas with leadership oversight has great impact.

Encourage risk-taking

Foster a culture where calculated risk-taking is encouraged and failure is seen as an opportunity for learning and growth. Psychological safety is key to creating a safe environment where employees feel comfortable taking initiative and experimenting with new ideas.


We ran a fantastic workshop for our client SBM Offshore where attendees used LEGO Serious Play to explore a number of big business questions. The LEGO helped relaxed and disarm the attendees allowing ideas to flow between colleagues that don’t ordinarily work together.

Make clear your purpose and plan

First, constantly repeat in every part of your organisation your purpose and goals to ensure that everyone knows what they should be working towards.

Second (and the bit that is so often missed) use stories to show and celebrate how that progress is being made. This momentum will drive the next steps people will take and create a sense of camaraderie.

Invest in development

Offer high quality development to nurture your people’s talent and the results will speak for themselves. You will have people who know they’re valued boosted by skills that help them adapt and embrace your businesses’ challenges and opportunities.

Booking.com recently nailed this with their value ‘learn forever’ where they offer employees no end of development opportunities including mentoring and hackathons (it’s no surprise they are now a certified Great Place to Work!)

88% of C-suite executives expect the pace of change to get faster in 2024
Accenture: Pulse of Change Index, 2024

All this brings me back to The Grand Indian Hotel and what that programme is really about. It’s about creating a culture where people are trying to change themselves. It’s got a young chef whose ambition is to one day have a Michelin star.

It has a general manager who genuinely wants staff and customers to be the happiest they have ever been.

It has an HR manager so driven to succeed that she rarely sees her young family.

It’s about people trying to make the hotel a success and themselves a success.

Ultimately, creating a change-ready culture is about helping people see their own success tied up in the success of the business. Do that, and you have an unstoppable movemnt.