In order to change employees' behaviour, it is not just about telling them what they should or should not do.
Three parts to be considered:
Reducing the friction
Increasing motivating factors (e.g. empowerment, job scope, remuneration, recognition, favourable working conditions, etc.)
Changing the environment.
Reducing the friction is about removing the factors that hold them back from embarking on the change. These could be anything from the complicated processes, the lack of effective communication to the lack of right tools; from the lack of support and clear directives, to feeling that their own needs are being ignored.
On the other spectrum, dangling motivating carrots will work only if you are seen to actively work on eliminating as many demotivating factors as possible. We need to move the unmotivated to not unmotivated before we can proceed to talk about motivating them.
Motivating factors can include empowerment, revised/expanded/scaled down job scope, remuneration and benefits, recognition, more favourable working conditions and arrangement, etc.
Changing the environment can influence people's behaviour and motivation to act. This is not just about the physical space of our surrounding, but the method that is designed and adopted to encourage the desired set of actions.
Change management is never easy. But before we get to working out the 3 parts above, we need to first know of and understand the real reasons behind the reluctance or hesitance to change. Do we truly know what they are or we are simply assuming so?
Reflective thoughts: Think of the most recent change in your department or organisation that requires the employees to behave in a different way. How were the three parts listed above addressed, if at all?
With the wisdom of hindsight, what else would you have done?
Next, think of a personal habit you would like to change or rid of. Using the three parts listed above, what would be your plan to make the change an effective and relatively seamless one?