Six Ways to Guide Your Employees Through Change
- Date: Thursday 21st June 2018
- PDF: Download
Change in an organisation will cause stress and the more change that occurs the more stress there will be. When multiple changes occur the stress level amongst your staff will be high because employees are forced to step out of their comfort zone and accept something new.
Adapting to change takes time and energy, especially when your employees are expected to remain productive. In times of change, management is often called upon to answer employee concerns and this is when you need to think about how you will shift people’s mindsets.
Here are six steps to consider on your change journey:
1. Encourage a Mindset Shift
Guiding employees through multiple changes involves more than a shift in behaviour or learning a new skill. A shift of mindset is required to sustain a change. Encourage the shift, whether it’s meeting customer needs, how work gets done or how employees work with each other, by gathering evidence, stories, data and lessons to help everyone understand what is needed.
2. Acknowledge Negativity and Choose Positive Action
Acknowledge negativity exists and how it can close down communication. When multiple changes occur, it may be necessary to recognise that there will be negative feelings for a short period. In meetings allow for a timed amount of discussion on the negative aspects of the change (to get them on the table). But then move onto positive action whilst still acknowledging the negative will not go away at this point.
3. Focus on the Facts
If the negatives of change are overwhelming you or your team find some evidence to support what is required. It is likely that the facts do not support the degree of negativity employees are concerned about. Data can help ground employees in facts so they can make better decisions.
4. Be Prepared to be “Unprepared”
The longer and more complex the changes, the less you will know what the future holds. Sometimes no answers exist and we just need to prepare for the unknown. It is reasonable for you to manage employee expectations by saying: ‘I do not know at the moment, I will let you know when I know. I am in this with you.’ Employees will appreciate such honesty.
5. Use Clear Language
Avoid talking about finding efficiencies as too often your employees will interpret this to mean job losses. Try to be simple and direct in your language and talk about the inefficiencies the business is trying to solve. Be clear about what this means, identifying which inefficiencies the change will solve, as well as which efficiencies will be unaffected.
6. Beware the Politics
Consider the different agendas that arise and compete during periods of change and the resulting politics. As a manager, guide your employees by reducing uncertainty, determine how to address agendas that are a priority and make sure people feel heard. Recognise you cannot solve everyone’s problems or make their lives better. Talk about the politics when it is appropriate, as avoiding them will make your employees think you are not being realistic.