Change is not always easy but in order for things to move forwards particularly in the modern business environment, it is essential as processes, practices and technologies evolve.
Change, in whatever form, can affect employees in different ways and can often be challenging and even unsettling for them, so its really important to communicate effectively before, during and after changes have been implemented to help guide the process smoothly and alleviate any pain points where possible.
A lot of managers find change difficult and at times uncomfortable but that needn't be the case. Planning is key so that you are confident with the message and rationale you are delivering.
We've put together some tips that may help:
1. Involve employees
Management often have been planning the route for change for some time before announcing to the wider business, but often the 'jungle drums' start up and rumours start to circulate before official communications have begun which can breed negativity before you even start to try and move implementation forwards. Plan to communicate, as soon as you reasonably can, the proposal for change, why this is needed, what effect it will have, for them and the business, and the time frame you'll be working towards. Keep employees updated as necessary throughout and they'll more likely be 'on board' with what you are trying to achieve.
2. Find out how employees are feeling
It is really important that managers really understand how individuals are feeling about the change and whether there are issues that need to be discussed. Speaking to your employees one to one is the best gauge of finding out how the proposal for change has been received. By understanding their feelings, you are in a better position to market and sell the change, of course this doesn't mean that everyone will always be 100% happy but they'll likely appreciate that you've taken their feelings/views on board even if you can't remove some or all of the aspects they're uncomfortable with.
Once you've communicated the changes that are due to be made, when speaking to your employees one to one, ask for their commitment in helping to successfully implement the changes. Encourage them to talk to you about any issues they may have. If you aren't engaging people in the change, they may vent their negative views elsewhere which will potentially affect others' positive mindset over the changes.
Show your own commitment too. Once changes are underway, it really is key to follow things through even if there are some adaptations along the way to reaching the end goal. Failing to do so will damage credibility and send out a negative message.
4. Keep communicating
After making your announcement about the changes, keep the communication channels open at regular dates, giving clear information and try to quash any untruths from the rumour mill. You can't really over communicate when trying to effectively manage change.
5. Show your own positivity
Change can be unsettling and showing your own positivity and calmness can go a long way in these situations. Acknowledge people's efforts, try and keep morale and motivation high.
If you have changes to implement within your business and need some advice/guidance as to how to manage the process, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you to help you find the right solution for your business.
Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.