Managing Change – And How To Take Your People With You
Whether it looks like adapting, pivoting, diversifying or expanding, change is an essential part of growth. Some changes are forced upon us without warning – the sudden and universal shift to remote working during the pandemic, for example – while other changes are a conscious choice by senior leadership when you see an opportunity for business development and growth.
It’s an exciting place to be, but any change from the status quo can also cause a lot of uncertainty for your employees. If you’re not careful and intentional about how you manage, communicate and implement change, you could end up trying to forge ahead while leaving many of your people behind – confused, anxious, disengaged, or disillusioned.
When organisational change is managed with a people-centric approach, engaging with how employees are feeling and responding to the changes, this gives you the buy-in and momentum you need to push on towards your next goal as an organisation.
Here are some of the key things you can do to manage change well:
1. Transparent Communication
Be clear about what’s happening and why. This removes uncertainty and unhelpful gossip, and gives employees a chance to process, prepare, and raise any concerns as changes unfold. Check out our blog post on effective communication goals for more about how and when to use different forms of communication for the best results.
2. Reinforce Values & Goals
Show how the decisions you’re making at the top level are aligned with your values as an organisation, as this will be the foundation of a smooth transition. You may need to reaffirm and reinforce your organisational values and explore ways to get your people connected and aligned with them. Employees can then get more excited about the changes as they understand the decision-making, as well as how these changes align with the goals of their team and the wider organisation. Inpulse’s pulse surveys are a great way to assess and evaluate employee engagement with your guiding principles, and these insights can then form the basis of conversations, presentations and workshops to improve engagement with these values.
3. Connect Individual Roles to Organisational Goals
Let people know where they fit in the current and future picture, and how their specific role ties in to your collective goals. If people can see how they’re contributing to a whole, it gives a greater sense of meaning and purpose, and more motivation in their work. You will likely see lower levels of anxiety and stress in your employees if you provide clarity and reassurance that they have an important role to play as things change and shift. If your people understand the benefits of the changes, this also means that they’re much more likely to get behind them and do their bit to drive a smooth and successful transition.
4. Give People a Voice
Make time and space to invite contributions, questions and perspectives from your employees, and be open to constructive criticism. Rather than just letting them know what’s happening, you need to listen to how your people are experiencing and processing the changes, and engage in dialogue. You could start with pulse surveys thatallow for both quantitative and open ended responses, and then follow-up with face to face team meetings and in-person engagement workshops. You need to understand what people are thinking and feeling, but also why, so that the insights you collect are meaningful and actionable.
5. Empower Managers
Finally, don’t under-estimate the importance of team leaders and managers to be drivers of successful change, through dialogue and relationship with their teams. A clear management structure positions managers to inform and support their teams through the changes, and to reaffirm the role of their team within the broader vision, as well as feeding employee questions and concerns up to the senior level. Managers can use the results and insights from pulse surveys to guide the conversations they have with their teams, and highlight the areas where more clarity or support is needed.
As we always say at Inpulse, the growth, success and sustainability of your organisation depends on the performance of your people, and the performance of your people depends on how they feel. As you make plans and get ready for change, don’t leave your most valuable asset in the rear view mirror.