Employees are more willing to change than managers think
About the study
A team from Harvard Business School and the BCG Henderson Institute surveyed more than 11,000 employees and 6,500 top managers on employees’ willingness to change.
Conclusion: Employees were much more interested in acquiring new skills than employers thought they would be. The study shows that employees are adaptable and optimistic about the future.
The survey focused on employees whose jobs are most likely to be affected by change.
The result – depending on the perspective of employee or employer – is completely different: top managers worry about how to mobilize the workforce in an environment of constant change, whether employees are willing to go along with change; employees, on the other hand, focus on the opportunities and benefits that the future brings them.
What managers vs. employees think:
|Workers are afraid that they will be replaced by new technologies in their workplace.|
Employees are afraid of major changes
Underestimate the need for intensive support and guidance of their employees
|Automation and artificial intelligence has a positive impact on their own future |
See the prospect of higher salaries and more interesting activities
More flexible and more self-determined forms of work replace dangerous, monotonous forms of work
According to the study, employees have to overcome high hurdles in order to find out what options they have for further or new qualifications and to gain support from their managers. When companies accommodate employees, they can gain an important competitive advantage from their employees’ willingness to adapt and change.
The key: Companies should start looking at their employees as talent and energy reserves that they can tap into with smart training and career development offerings – because workers are willing and able to change to a much greater degree than managers think.
“If you give employees the opportunity to learn something new or demonstrate their skills, they’ll do their best. You just have to give them the opportunity,” recognizes Jill Dark, head of strategic workforce architecture and transformation at office furniture manufacturer Steelcase.
With these 5 tips, you can set the course for channeling your employees’ willingness to change in a meaningful way and using it profitably for your company:
- Create a culture of learning
- Actively involve your employees in the transformation
- Keep an eye out for talent internally as well
- Develop a talent pool together across companies
- Find ways to deal with chronic uncertainty for the purpose of change
Source: Harvard Business Manager magazine, March 2020, p.70 ff.
For further interesting insights please have a look at our studies