Change in the workplace can be very difficult but you can make it a lot easier for yourself
In this month’s article we’re going to explore one of the most difficult things leaders need to deal with – changing how your business operates.
Changing what your staff do and how they do it can be one of management’s most frustrating experiences, even though implementing change in the workplace is critical to survival, let alone success.
Great ideas with potentially great outcomes can often turn out to be very disappointing because your staff fail to implement the changes you want them to, or they implement them in a piecemeal and less than complete way.
Let’s face it most people love their comfort zones. They enjoy having certainty at work. Knowing what to do and how to do it gives them a sense of control and ease.
Change can be frightening for staff. The minute managers start talking about change, staff begin to worry. They start asking the questions like:
- Why are they making these changes? The existing system is fine!
- Will I be able to do this? What happens if can’t?
- What does it mean for my job?
- How much time will it take me to learn all of this?
- Do I need to start talking to recruitment agency to find another job?
The good news is that change can be executed in a way that will bring about better outcomes. In other words, there are good ways and a bad ways of implementing change in your workplace. By avoiding the bad ways and embracing as many of the good ways as possible you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcomes.
Here’s what to do!
Explain to your staff why you’re making the changes and what’s in it for them
If staff are told why the changes need to be made and how these changes will affect them you will get far greater buy in and cooperation. Staff are usually much more cooperative if they can see the reasons underlying change, especially if they know that if the changes are not implemented it may ultimately end up costing them their jobs!
Also, it’s vital to tell staff how the changes will affect them in terms of daily duties, job security, hours of work, training etc. By giving them all this information upfront you are significantly reducing uncertainty and stress levels. People want to know where they stand.
If people are going to be made redundant it’s better (and ethical) to tell them upfront. Hiding redundancies until the last minute will not endear you to anyone.
By being upfront about redundancies everyone will know where they stand. Those being let go should probably be let go as soon as possible.
It also helps to assist these people with finding another job. Get in touch with your recruitment agency or recruiter and see what they can do.
One step at a time
As much as possible avoid implementing lots of changes all at the same time. Your people will be overwhelmed and most likely resentful if a whole bunch of change is thrust upon them in one go. It’s much smarter to have a plan of change wherein the changes are implemented in a logical step by step order. One change at a time is much better than a bulk change in one fell swoop.
Seek your staff’s advice
A very important practice is to invite your staffs’ input on the best ways to implement the change. There’s a good chance they will be able to provide invaluable advice on the best way to do things. Avoiding errors will save you lots of time, money and frustration. By letting your staff have a say on how things might be done you will be going a long way to getting their buy in and cooperation.
Celebrate the small successes
Make a song and dance when you reach a milestone, even a small one. Publicly thank the hard work and cooperation of the people involved.