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4 Ways to Help Employees through Change

Change is the six-letter word that makes most of us cringe. Ask anyone how they feel about change, and most people will tell you it’s not their favorite thing to experience in life. That’s because change can be incredibly difficult and more than a little stressful—especially when change occurs in the workplace. Here are 4 ways to help employees through change. Watch the video, or read on for the transcript.

Whether that change takes the form of new technology, company mergers, pay cuts, or layoffs, change is one of the fastest ways to lower employee morale if not managed properly. Even long-time, loyal team members can become burnt out, stressed, and mentally fatigued.
But change doesn’t have to knock your employees out for the count. Learn 4 strategies you can implement before, during, and after the next change episode in your workplace to ensure your team stays positive, optimistic, and both mentally and emotionally resilient.

1) Include them in the change process. It’s amazing how many companies and organisations roll out new changes without ever informing their employees beforehand. This can lead to confusion, anger, and distrust among employees. People don’t like unexpected losses, and they certainly don’t like to feel as if they’ve lost control. Wherever it is possible, it’s absolutely vital for leaders to let their employees ‘in’ on the change that’s soon to take place. An easy way to accomplish this is to invite them into planning meetings so that they feel they have ownership of the change from the start.

2) Keep them updated. Sometimes, change can be an extensive process. It can last for weeks, months, or even years. This is a very fragile time for employees because they’re still learning ‘the ropes’ of the change, as well as what to expect at each and every turn. This can often lead to anxiety in some team members, who may feel as if they’re experiencing a loss of certainty and security. To combat this, it’s important to provide them with a new sense of safety. How? Set easy-to-understand timetables that serve as roadmaps for the change and go over new processes in depth, answering any and all questions employees may have. This will reinstate their feeling of security and allow them to trust the change on a higher level.

3) Build community among them. As social creatures, we depend on others for support constantly. We want to feel as if we belong. Many people see their colleagues at work as members of a ‘family’. During change, we depend on these family members to encourage us and keep us moving forward. In too many cases, employee morale has reached an all-time low during change because people no longer feel connected to each other. As a leader, you can ensure this doesn’t happen by regularly investing in teambuilding activities for your staff. When you build a solid foundation through such activities, you ensure that your employees can thrive and build healthy workplace relationships with one another—a great tool to lean on during change.

4) Develop them. In the wake of a change, some employees may feel left behind because of new tasks that are mismatched with their current skillset. For instance, team members may question their competence at accomplishing the requirements of a new job description. When people don’t feel they have the skills to perform a job well, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and frustration, which eventually results in low morale and poor performance. Fortunately, this is easily remedied. Keep your employees sharp and on top of their game by continuously providing training, education, mentorship and support during and after times of transition. When you invest in your employees’ skillset and talents, you not only make your team stronger but you also equip an individual with the confidence to perform a job well and the dedication to contribute their best work to the team moving forward.

When you employ the four strategies above, you’ll create a work environment that feels not just positive but cohesive as well. The more people feel as if they’re heard, guided, supported, and developed, the more able they’ll feel to face the changes big and small that your company or organisation faces, making for a stronger, more adaptive, and happier team.

Learn more about change in Ros’ book The Resilient Employee: the essential guide to coping with change and thriving in today’s workplace.
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Take a course! Get more information on our online change programs here.

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