Workplace change is common across all types of organizations. While some employees may embrace change, most find it overwhelming, stressful, and confusing.
From adopting a new program or software to making physical changes within the office, any type of change can be difficult. This is especially true when the staff is not in the loop about changes being made. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, changes were made rapidly and without employee consultation. Similarly, changes such as mergers or acquisitions are typically confidential until things are finalized.
Since not all changes can be run by staff members, it’s important to support them through it or their feelings of frustration and stress may linger or become worse. This can lead to worse effects, such as lower levels of productivity.
There are some steps managers can take to support their staff in order to make workplace changes go smoother. Helping employees embrace and accept change begins with communication.
Explain the Change
This is the first, and most important, step in helping employees embrace change. If it is explained that a specific change will bring about greater success or help turn around a failing business, employees will be more likely to understand and accept the change.
Whether the change means the difference between some staff members having a job and being laid-off or greater efficiency that allows employees to work fewer hours, a clear explanation or goal for the change happening will make a huge difference. If employees see the benefit in it for them, they are much more likely to be on board with it.
Even if there is no benefit for employees, it’s important, to be honest, positive, and supportive of how they may feel about the change. The number one reason that changes in the workplace are frowned upon by employees is due to a lack of communication, so don’t fall victim to this.
Advocate the Change
Another way to help ease employees through a change is to find early advocates of the change. Employees who are welcoming of a new change or pick up on it fast can be of great help to the ones who feel differently.
These early advocates will not only be more engaged by helping others adapt, but the employees struggling will also be positively influenced. A big part of making changes successful is having support available. Finding advocates within your staff is a great way to do so. Additionally, these employees can help frame the change as an exciting opportunity, rather than a negative thing.
Prepare Employees for Change
Having a work environment of agility that supports and accepts the change, to begin with, can make the process a whole lot easier. Encouraging staff to find new ways of doing their day-to-day tasks or even letting them pitch new ideas can lay the groundwork for future change.
If change is something that happens more often than not, or the organization has a constant mindset of moving forward, helping employees embrace change will be so much easier.
For multiple reasons, change in the workplace may be alarming to staff members. While some will be very supportive of new changes, others will need help adjusting. Explaining a change and the reasons behind it, along with being supportive, will help employees embrace change better than ever.
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