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The Importance of WIIFM in Change Management –



Oh no. Not another acronym to remember! If you work in I.T then Change management is an important part of your role. If you have ever worked in change management or implemented a major change in your environment you will already know that the number one rule is that people do not like change. The Acronym WIIFM stands for What’s In It For Me and it focuses on the people aspect of the change and considers their needs rather than what you want them to do.  Employing WIIFM in change management can position change in a way that feels personal to each employee.

What is the WIIFM Factor

WIIFM can be used everywhere and in many industries and job situations where you are interacting with another person, or party and you need to consider what is the advantage of something on a personal scale. For example, if you are a teacher, you might want to ask yourself, what are the advantages to the student of the material being presented. Or you may be a salesman who needs to consider the benefits of your product to a potential buyer. This is not only true when dealing with people at the workplace but in everyday life. Such as, when motivating someone or even when trying to set personal goals.

Using WIIFM in Change Management

Change management is the discipline that focuses on the human aspect of change management and helps individuals prepare and embrace the change. It is human nature for individuals to feel uncomfortable and resist change. WIIFM is where you can focus on how the change can benefit the individual making it easier for the individual to accept the change. Understanding what’s in it for employees entails having an appreciation of their personal drivers, both positive and negative. This is where you can ask questions like – What drives the user to work? What are the most passionate about doing? What are their pain points and what would they pay you to avoid? What their role at the organisation looks like and what do they want their role to look like?

You will find that the list of specific motivators and drivers will be different for executives, middle management and those “on the front line.” So, this analysis needs to be done across the organisation. If you can find motivation for change that’s twice as beneficial as the potential loss they perceive, you’re more likely to be successful in winning people over. CHanges that can fit and align with the employee’s goals and career directions are most likely to be accepted.

You can find out what’s in it for them through a mixture of anonymous surveys, focus groups, and stakeholder representative groups that comprise people at different levels and from different departments. When planning a trip, it’s important to make it appealing to the people you’re inviting to get on the bus. The goal is to try and get everyone at the organisation on the bus so they can all travel to the same destination. As you validate the journey of your change effort, it’s critical that you carefully tend to all the What’s In It For Me details for the people affected.

Note – Remember the ADKAR model for change management. If you keep these concepts in mind, you should be able to effectively communicate with your employees and meet them where they stand.

Delivering change is hard but you can make it a lot easier and more effective if you understand people’s motivations and explicitly show them how this change can benefit them. WIIFM change management takes a more personalized approach and makes the change relatable. By highlighting relevant benefits, you can help employees move past feelings of fear and frustration. 


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