We know change can be frightening. It’s especially difficult when there’s little time to prepare your business and your people for change. As all businesses have experienced over the last couple of months, workspaces and places, organisational structures, and normal ways of leading and communicating have changed drastically. When a seismic shift like this happens abruptly, the entire business is affected, whether it’s a well-established powerhouse or a small startup. In our most recent study, we saw employee anxiety levels skyrocket by 240% compared to this time last year (2019), and we’ve seen employee engagement take a significant downward turn. Nevermind the immense impact these changes have had on business revenues and the mass redundancies that have occurred as a result. As we’ve seen, change that’s unplanned for can be extremely damaging.
However, change can also be the best thing to happen to a business – especially if decisions are made carefully and sensibly. As businesses become more comfortable with the changes they’ve been through, and their ‘new normals’ are established, planning for the months and years ahead is the most responsible approach to take. Rather than being a feather in the wind and being forced this way and that as the world changes, carving out a path that best aligns with your mission, vision and values is most rewarding.
Here are a few benefits of change and ways to harness them:
1. Change helps to strengthen areas of weakness
Change has a way of enlightening business to those niggly, problem areas that would otherwise go unnoticed. It’s, of course, inconvenient at the best of times to discover problems within your business, but it’s the only way to grow. Change facilitates growth. For example, during times of change, you experience low productivity, poor culture and communication, dwindling profits – any issues that have to do with your people, perhaps poor employee engagement is the reason. Perhaps your people feel disengaged for good reason? It would be worth investigating what they are so that you’re better-equipped and more stable whenever change comes along. When you’re open to turning change into a positive and use it as a way to make better business decisions and find rewarding solutions, you’ll be one step closer to greatness.
2. Change helps businesses become agile
Change is inevitable. The world – and the world of business – is constantly evolving. Whether it’s advancements in technology, a change in consumer needs, or a global pandemic; change is inevitable and it calls for agility. Agile companies are usually the ones that succeed because they don’t get left behind. They’re eager to keep their processes current, they nurture their people’s skills and potential in line with cutting edge techniques, and they’re therefore able to move through change much more seamlessly, while still delivering a world class service and meeting their customer’s demands. Without change businesses wouldn’t build agility, they wouldn’t be made aware of areas that need attention, and wouldn’t be able to make decisions that nurture growth. So instead of seeing change as something to run from, embrace it. Look for ways to become better, stronger and more agile in this ever-evolving world.
3. Change improves business efficiency
If you’re seeing change as a way to grow and you’re making decisions that improve the way you and your people work, the way your managers lead, and the way your business functions, improved business efficiency is a given. And when you enhance business efficiency, you save costs, improve productivity and performance, and begin building a company that’s resilient, agile and successful. But what does it take to improve business efficiency? Well, there are many moving parts, but the most important factors are also your most important resources: your people, your profits and your processes. All these factors work in tandem with one another. If you invest in your people and refine your processes, you ought to see an improvement in profit. If your profits could be better, you know it’s time to invest more into your people and refine your processes. The best way to invest in your people is to find out what they need, what their skills are, and the way they’d like to work – because these insights will help you to make informed decisions about processes. When processes align with your people, they are bound to work and your workforce are bound to embrace the change. And of course, once you’ve given the right attention to people and processes, profit follows.
4. Change allows for a fresh start
If nothing changes things become old, stale and boring. A person, a business – anything that embraces change is an entity that’s alive and thriving! Change shakes things up, challenges one’s strengths and presents an opportunity for a fresh start and a second wind. If, for example, you’ve always relied on one approach when managing your team, perhaps it’s time to move with the times and position yourself on the cusp of new advancements in leadership. You see, change is happening all the time – even the way we lead today is different from how we led 5, 10 or 20 years ago. It’s important that you not only see change as a time of growth for your company and your people, but for yourself and your managerial teams too. When you as a leader embrace change, your people and your company will follow. So look for areas within yourself: whether it be your skills, leadership techniques, education, whatever the case may be, and commit to a fresh start and a new and improved outlook.
P.S Inpulse are hosting a free online Masterclass on Thursday 15 October 12:00-14:00 BST.
Our founder Matt Stephens will be discussing employee engagement, wellbeing and CHANGE with Chief People Officer at FDM Group, Paula Leach; and Global Director of People and Culture at Collinson, Bertie Tonks, to bring you expert HR insights necessary to successfully lead your people through change, now and in the future.