Organisational change and growth is seldom produced by a once-off event – employees need time to acclimatise to new expectations and to digest new learning. Behaviour change requires a strategy of ongoing modelling of “the new way we do things around here” and consistent reflection on “why” we have embarked on this journey. In other words, the dotted line needs to be drawn constantly back to the vision, values, mission and strategy of the organisation in order to solicit the necessary buy-in from all involved. For change to be bedded down into desired behaviour patterns, the organisation needs to be ‘drip-fed’ new growth directives.
“Drip-feeding” is a term that is chiefly used in two contexts:
- Finance – the continual investment of capital in a small and growing company as the company needs it, rather than investing a lump sum at the company’s inception. The strategy is typically used as protection for the sponsor to mitigate start-up risk.
- Medical – the administration of blood, plasma, saline or antibiotic, usually intravenously, one drop at a time. The method is particularly helpful when the patient is in a weakened condition and needs assistance to ingest that which is necessary to accelerate the healing process.
Similarly from an organisational perspective, drip-feeding change stimuli and other learning interventions for employees both mitigate risk during a change process and accelerate healing and necessary growth sustainably. This does not imply that the employee is a passive recipient of these ‘nutrients’, nor does it imply that employees should not attend formal training courses. The metaphor suggests a constant, rather than a once-off, developmental process that feeds change and growth in a sustainable and consistent fashion. Drip-feeding techniques can take many forms – discussion groups, blogs, eLearning Bytes, competitions, crosswords, workshops, art expressions, dramas, poster development, newsletters, slogans, etc.
The benefits of drip-feeding growth stimuli for the employees are as follows:
- Developing expectation – looking forward to a weekly stimulating and inspiring message from the CEO or Executive Team, or anticipating an eLearning opportunity that builds on the content of the previous session.
- Emotional identification and synergy – a sense of belonging (I am an integral part of this change and growth and the organisation is expecting me to throw my heart into this change).
- Opportunity for feedback – direct communication with employees offers a forum for ideas to be given and concerns to be addressed.
- Bite-sized chunks of content – very few people can take all the information available and apply this to behaviour change. Most people get overwhelmed with too much information and prefer to change incrementally.
- Engagement – keeping employees engaged with the change content and interested in any progress being made.
In organisational change and development initiatives, drip-feeding relevant content (as opposed to once-off events) is a more sustainable approach to enhancing growth and embedding change. The constant interaction with employees allays concerns and facilitates a huge engagement opportunity.
Free To Grow offers many drip-feeding products, including Learning Bytes, in their product suites (www.freetogrow.com)