Fifty to seventy-five percent of all change initiatives —including those in health care—end in failure.  Of those that succeed, most don’t achieve the originally intended outcome. While most projects come with strategic and procedural challenges, it is the people who are affected by change initiatives that are often the most difficult variable to manage. As a result, it’s important that health care administrators possess the skills to encourage others to embrace change. Opposition to change is a typical part of implementing new concepts in the workplace. As such, administrators regularly employ the following four tactics, among others, to encourage staff members to view organizational objectives as their own.
Set the Stage for Change
To alter how employees perceive change, health care administrators must practice patience, and provide those who resist with individual attention when hearing their concerns. Employees can sense when a superior does not have a genuine interest in listening to a grievance. To remedy this, it is critical for administrators to maintain a two-way conversation, and gain a true understanding of the concerns that workers raise. In fact, it is better for health care administrators to have two discussions with resistant employees: one to identify and understand the issue, and another to offer solutions or explain why the change initiative must stay as planned. Another way that health care administrators can underscore the importance of change with employees is to demonstrate the harm that could result by maintaining the current practices.  For example, organizations that are led by a health care administrator who is slow to adopt a value-based payment model may see their institution’s performance degrade over time. Despite the degree of change, it is the responsibility of the health care administrator to identify and communicate how resistance to change can hurt organizational performance.
Lead the Way to the Future
Administrators can encourage change among employees by voicing narratives that show how staff can succeed in a new environment. To produce this outcome, administrators must balance the concerns of resistors with building enthusiasm about forthcoming changes. For example, administrators can champion change that is related to health care reform by packaging the message in a certain way. They can cite how the mandate provides for patients who cannot afford services, promotes health care equity, and improves quality of life for underserved populations—all while improving performance and cost savings for the employee’s company.
Prepare the Organization for Change
The quality of a change initiative is often measured by how much it encourages others to accept new ideas. In light of this, health care administrators must identify and voice the launching point that steers positive acceptance among employees. Additionally, administrators must realistically identify all the tasks that are required to successfully implement change within an organization. This might include staffing the initiative, evaluating needed technology and financial resources, and establishing guidelines for conflict resolution and negotiation. By including various stakeholders in the decision-making process, health care administrators allow employees to become invested and more likely to accept changes.
Introduce the New Concept
When serving patients in an environment that often leaves little time for evaluating actions, employees often rely on their learned habits to make the right care decision As a result, some staff members may have trouble moving out of their comfort zone and accepting change. Effective health care administrators understand that employees typically resist change due to their need for stability, rather than defiance toward new ideas because many employees prefer consistent actions if the results are beneficial. To overcome this instinct, and in a larger sense to create an environment that is favorable toward new ideas, administrators must provide employees with a compelling image of how the change is better than the status quo.
The Importance of Persuasion for Health Care Administrators
The nation’s growing aging population continues to create a greater demand for community health resources, coordinated care networks, and long-term care services. This has sharply increased medical service spending, the amount of services that are delivered to the elderly, and the volume of insurance-related administrative duties incurred by care provider organizations. To stay competitive, health providers must adopt change in a progressive and proactive manner. In kind, health care administrators must display skill in promoting organizational change. Whether or not employees accept new ideals, the fast and changing pace of health care will affect organizations and patient outcomes. In short, organizations that fail to change will fail to survive. To prosper in an ever-evolving environment, health care organizations must adapt quickly and expertly as significant new trends emerge. It is the health care administrators of today and tomorrow who must possess superior skills in promoting change. They must be the ones to lead organizations through a service environment that is constantly shifting, growing, innovating, and improving.
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