How to effectively manage change

18 / 12 / 19

Change is good. However, employees are often reluctant to accept change and instead are fearful of it. As the world of business evolves, it’s vital for organisations to quickly and efficiently adapt to change, otherwise they risk becoming obsolete. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to manage this change effectively so as not to scare employees, inspiring them to achieve long-lasting benefits.

Resistance to change

Change can be incredibly difficult for certain individuals as many employees seek routine and stability and any news of change can really knock their confidence. There are of course different degrees of change, however this is often down to personal perception, i.e. one person may believe there will be an insignificant impact and therefore are completely unperturbed. Whereas, the next person may perceive it as a huge impact on their daily routine and they may feel extremely uncomfortable as a result.

People don’t like feeling a lack of control over their current role, procedures, processes and/or surroundings. Routines can make certain employees feel more comfortable and a change in routine can cause distress. In addition, if the change comes as a surprise, imposed on them suddenly, then there is no opportunity to get their head around this and so they are more likely to resist it.

Employees can also be concerned about their competence to work in a new way. They may be so used to previous processes or systems, they could be worried about how long it will take them to learn the new program or procedure. Will they be able to get to grips with it or will they lose face and be unable to make it work?

Change can often be perceived as more work and yes, of course this can often be the case, but only initially. However, generally change is implemented for a good reason and so ultimately productivity should increase.

Change will affect more than the immediate department and it can therefore disrupt other departments, customers, stakeholders etc. Therefore, it’s important for all employees to understand the need for change and the ultimate benefit to both employees and the business.

Change may have been implemented previously and if those changes went badly, then individuals will understandably be resistant to further changes.

Sometimes the threat is real – If technologies replace the need for certain tasks, then there could be the potential for re-organising or even worse, making redundancies.

Effectively managing change

Regardless of how significant or insignificant the change within your organisation may be, it’s imperative your business helps to facilitate change and effectively communicate change, ensuring your employees are on-board and willing to move forward without any resistance. Below are our top hints and tips to help with this process:

  • Don’t just make change for change sake – Be intentional about the changes you endeavor to make with supporting reasons
  • Involve employees from the beginning – If their department or role will be affected by the change, make sure they’re involved in the process
  • Be open - Consistently communicate what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Don’t leave this to chance. Arrange group meetings, one-to-ones, collaboration systems, newsletters, email and so on – Do whatever it takes to help your employees feel part of the decision-making process and well informed from start to finish. Always be open about answering questions and addressing concerns
  • Be consistent, follow through, and stay focused on the outcome.
  • Ensure leaders and middle managers model good behaviors surrounding change. Make them advocates for change, encouraging employees to accept and support the change as well
  • Provide useful visuals, including schedules, calendars, infographics and pictures, etc.
  • How will the employee benefit? How will the business benefit? If an employee can see that the change is positive, they will be more likely to accept it
  • Explain how and why old processes and procedures have become outdated, and how and why the new system will work better
  • Throughout each change project, always encourage feedback -This will demonstrate your employees are part of the process and that you are considering their input
  • Offer additional support through the transition – Training and mentoring could be required or simply a drop-in session to again answer concerns and address any issues before they escalate into something more
  • Of course many employees will embrace change and so it’s important that you reward positive behaviours
  • Celebrate positive results to the team and the wider business to show the change is having a positive effect. Where possible attribute data to this to really show the benefits
  • Allow time for change to be consistent – There’s no point implementing change and not giving it enough time to work.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about as an employer when implementing change and change management is extremely important to ensure your plan is a success. If you require additional support in this area, then please do not hesitate to contact us on: 01453 297557 or email enquiries@peepshr.co.uk.


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