Top Tips for Driving Behavioural Change

Change is inevitable and comes in abundance when working in retail. But how do you solve the hardest challenge of them all… behavioural change?

Our Head of Business Change, Elizabeth Dunn, recently sat down to discuss her top tips for driving behavioural change. With over 16 years of retail and change experience, Elizabeth is well-versed in designing, building and implementing change strategies, having led a number of successful organisational change initiatives within River Island.
And as River Island have embarked on an incredibly exciting digital transformation, change has never been more abundant. Certain challenges we, and many other retailers face are:
  • Staying relevant in today’s fast-paced and changing markets.
  • Evolving our supply chain & logistics model so we can get products from ‘concept to carrier bag’ faster.
  • Creating a sense of vision, purpose and connection in our people, especially whilst being a ‘remote first’ organisation.
All of this brings more than a change in processes and infrastructure. It requires a lot of behavioural change.
So, in today’s fast-paced and dynamic world, change management is an essential part of a business and is a key differentiator that enables organisations to continuously thrive in an ever-changing environment. 


Changing Behaviours ... why is it SO hard? 

  • It’s the most personal type of change 
  • It’s difficult to quantify and measure 
  • It’s the hardest to sustain over time
With that in mind, how should you approach behavioural change within your organisation?


Top Tips for Driving Behavioural Change 


Tip 1: Sell the future

  • Tell a compelling story. Humans love to be told stories, and find it much easier to process information when they’re taken through a journey. Try using vision boards and story maps to help you with this.
  • As Simon Sinek says, always start with why. If you haven’t already, definitely check out his book.
  • Focus on the benefits of what you’re changing. Why should they care? What’s in it for them?

Tip 2: Form a coalition

  • Find your ‘champions’ (or ‘change agents’) and establish your champion network. Having a select few people truly bought in will massively help you. 
  • Build the future ‘to be’ state together.
  • Empower people to come up with the answers for you.

Tip 3: Formalise it

  • Provide people with clarity. Change can sometimes create a lot of new information, which can create a bit of ‘brain overload. To help with this, create and document a clear framework for people to follow and understand.
  • Weave it into performance management processes, which will help solidify the change.
  • Finally, reinforce it. Integrate it with reward and recognition.

Tip 4: Lead by example

  • It’s super important to focus on ‘top down’ accountability. Why should a team follow or incorporate something that their boss isn’t? 
  • Spend time engaging leadership teams and people managers.
  • Create a ‘callout’ culture, where the team feel comfortable speaking up about ‘misaligned’ examples.

Tip 5: Celebrate success

  • Adapt and learn. Schedule regular ‘adoption’ review points with everyone to see how they’re adapting to the change
  • Focus on the numbers. What observations can you make from the data?
  • Showcase and shoutout great examples from the team. Nothing quite inspires change like seeing your peers succeed.


Final thoughts

One final parting gift and something to ponder as you go on your journey:
“A change in behaviour begins with a change in the heart”
If you’re interested in solving some of the change management challenges the River Island team are embarking on, we want to hear from you! Head to our careers page or drop our recruitment team a little message to say hi.

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