Implementing change management from the top down
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that change can occur unexpectedly and at a rapid pace.
In the business world, change can occur for many reasons; perhaps a new manager, a new co-worker, or a company-wide merger.
However, statistics have shown that a whopping 62% of people don’t like to leave their comfort zone. Therefore, change can often leave employees feeling anxious and resistant—factors that can lead to a much less productive workforce.
As a result, failing to help your team navigate their way through times of change can be costly for your business. There are, however, many methods and steps you can take in order to help your employees embrace change with positivity. Here is how to help your team cope with change.
Empathise with your team
From the first announcement of organisational change, employees will experience a range of emotions from fear to relief to anticipation. Even in business, change is personal and can impact many aspects of a staff member’s mental and physical health.
Therefore, such emotions must be met with support and understanding. In leadership, displaying your emotional intelligence in the form of compassion and empathy will make a huge difference in times of change.
Taking the time to speak with your team, in group meetings or one-on-one sessions, and giving them a safe space to air their opinions and worries will help everyone get on the same page and give you an opportunity to ease their anxieties.
Whether it’s a minor change or a major one, the reason for any organisational change must be explained to everybody involved to ensure that mutual trust is maintained.
Once clearly articulated to the team, including what changes will be made, what the end goal is, and how it will lead to a positive future, a workforce is much more likely to be on board and help others adapt.
It is also prudent to keep communicating throughout the period of change—from start to finish.
Simple strategies such as keeping your team connected through a notice board can ease employees’ anxieties as they know they are being kept in the loop. A feature like this can also help to boost general team morale.
Much fear around change can be traced back to fear of the unknown. Whether it’s new software, a new process, or new equipment, taking the time to effectively train each team member will help eliminate the fear of the unknown.
Thoroughly training your staff will also mean that you will be met with a confident team. This will be a team who have faith in you as a leader and will, as a result, be more open to any changes you make in the future of your business.
Listen to feedback
Listening to feedback from your team throughout the change process is a crucial step. Gaining feedback will hold everyone accountable and help maintain alignment in an uncertain time. It will also help you to improve your process for the next business change.
Additionally, many employees will feel more optimistic about change if they have a say in what happens. Engaging in feedback, empowering your team, and allowing team members to feel involved in this way will create a constructive cycle.
Reward those who embrace change
In any business, when change happens you will always have some team members who embrace it, and others who resist.
Rather than reprimanding those with a negative attitude, try to identify the team members who embrace it and reward their desired behaviour. In doing so, you will create a positive work culture with a team that supports one another.
It may also be prudent to break any change down into small steps. This way, your team can accomplish small victories along the way and encourage others to adapt to change with them.
Lead by example
Statistics show that 42% of employees say that they have confidence in their leadership in times of disruption. Whilst this isn’t a particularly low amount, there is room for improvement. It’s therefore critical to lead by example and build your team’s confidence in you as a leader during a period of change.
Ensure that you lead from the front and demonstrate your open acceptance of change. Being first to cross the line into uncertainty, embracing change, and taking steps to gently help your employees adapt can only lead to positive results.
Make change easier for your team
The bottom line is that, in business, change is necessary and it is here to stay. For lots of staff members, change can be disruptive, fear inducing, and overwhelming.
However, if you incorporate the above methods and strategies, you can easily and efficiently guide your team through periods of change and teach them to embrace all the wonderful opportunities and possibilities that accompany it.