How to Be An Agent of Change in the Workplace

Many workplaces undergo continual evolution to reflect the changes in the society around them. As we venture into 2021, that means increased attention to diversity, sustainable initiatives, green business practices, and social responsibility. Not all organizations have begun this push, though, leaving opportunities for its employees to be the agents of change. Here’s how.

Talk to Decision-Makers

Depending upon your position and your company’s hierarchy, getting face-time with your organization’s decision-makers may be easier said than done. However, most organizations offer a suggestion box or a corporate town hall for sharing employee thoughts and recommendations. If nothing else, you can discuss your concerns with the HR team.

Whatever method is available to you, make sure you use it. If you notice a lack of diversity, you could suggest developing an employee-led task force designed to share diversity recommendations with upper management. Don’t be afraid to note areas where your company is missing the mark, and be confident in suggesting potential solutions to the problem.

Rely on Statistics

In most cases, if you’re presenting a new course of action to decision-makers in a company, they will want data. They’ll want to know the cost, the benefits (if any), and if there are any downsides to making the changes. Back that information up in data, industry trends, and internal and external statistics.

Asking for management approval for official changes without doing the research beforehand typically results in one of two outcomes: one, they might deny the request outright, or two, they will ask you to bring back research before they consider your proposal. Very rarely (if ever) will an executive sign off on an initiative that is not fully vetted.

Get Involved

Sometimes, making a difference at your company is as simple as being involved. Many organizations offer employee resource groups, such as company culture teams or party planning committees that are open to employees to join.

Take advantage of these resources. They are not only a chance to start making a change on a granular level, but they can also help you gather people who support your ideas. A group may have a higher chance of opening doors than an individual. For instance, if you’re in several employee resource groups, suggesting the development of another group, such as a Green Team, is more likely to be heard and genuinely considered.

Share Ideas

If you think your company is missing the mark on some bigger topics, remaining silent on the subject won’t do any good. Well-run organizations rely on their employees to bring new ideas to the table, whether those ideas are business or process-related or even related to the corporate culture.

If you have ideas, don’t be afraid to bring them up. The worst anyone is going to say to an honest suggestion is no. You can start with your direct supervisor to get a feel for how your idea will land. Ask them to guide you in terms of the next steps. They may even be able to add their authority to your message. Everyone has to begin somewhere, so take the avenues available to you and make them work in your favor.

If your workplace is a little behind the times, this is your opportunity to make a difference! Any employee can be an agent of change, and sometimes, something as simple as bringing a new idea to the table might be all that’s needed to get the ball rolling.

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