Workplace changes are common across all organizations. Although some employees may embrace various changes to company systems or procedures, most individuals find workplace changes to be confusing, stressful and overwhelming. In fact, a recent study found that 71 percent of employees who experienced a large company change within the last year were less satisfied with their job than those who experienced little to no change. So how can an organization help employees embrace workplace change?
While companies can’t avoid change in the workplace, there are steps they can take to minimize the negative effects that change can have on employees, such as dissatisfaction and burnout. It’s imperative that managers provide employees with a healthy work environment and continuous support throughout a company change to promote an easy transition for the employees and the company.
How Your Company’s Culture Can Affect Employees’ Response to Change
Company culture can largely affect how employees respond to workplace changes. To ensure the most positive response from employees, companies should create a company culture that’s centered around recognition, communication and engagement. Recognizing employees and promoting healthy communication will ultimately lead to employees feeling more engaged and satisfied with their role. Employers can promote a healthy company culture by staying communicative and transparent with employees about upcoming changes within the company.
It’s important to ensure all employees are aligned and engaged with the company’s culture before initiating any large company changes. By promoting a positive work culture, employees are more likely to be adaptive and resilient throughout any difficulties that may arise from company changes.
Best Practices for Implementing Change
Changing employee workflows, operating systems and other structural changes can be overwhelming for most employees. To ensure a smooth transition, try the following action items:
Communicate the change early on
Have an open discussion with employees about why the change is occurring and what the expectations are for the change (e.g., better work environment, equipment, operations or opportunities). Never wait to communicate a huge initiative until the last second.
Recognize the achievements made under the old systems or operations
It’s important for employees to feel that all their hard work is still appreciated and is not being overlooked by the new system or procedure.
Discuss the pros and cons
Be transparent about any roadblocks or inconveniences employees may experience during the change.
Explain who will be affected and how
Before the change occurs, ensure all employees are aware of how it may affect them individually or as a department.
Explain when the change will occur
If possible, provide employees with a timeline for when the change will be taking place and how long it will take for the company to prepare for it.
Allow employees to express their concerns
After presenting the change, give employees the chance to ask questions or discuss any concerns they may have. Managers should touch base with employees throughout the transition process to ensure all employees are supported and well-informed.
Implement the change in stages
If there are various phases to the new change, try implementing them over time. This allows employees more time to grasp any new concepts and ask questions as necessary.
Be open to any modifications to the new procedure or operation
Once the transition has begun, be open to any new suggestions that employees may have that could improve any new systems or processes.
To help employees through workplace change, managers must offer support and open lines of communication. Following best practices for initiating company changes can ensure a smooth transition for both your company and your employees.
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