A successful response to change is a basic requirement for the survival of the company in today’s dynamic market.
Changes in the workplace can be divided into external and internal, depending on where they come from:
- Drivers of external change can be the development of new technologies, changes in the economic system, trends in a particular industry, new tastes and consumer preferences.
- Internal changes are those that occur within the organization itself. Some of the factors that drive these changes are new product development, geographic expansion of the company, changes in the number of employees, or changes in business strategy.
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) has confirmed that organizational changes lead to increased employee stress, loss of trust towards the employer, insecurity and the desire to find another job. Therefore, it is the important task for managers to help their team to see the positive effects of change, to give them a clear idea of what change entails and what their role is in it.
Listen carefully to your employees
Successfully managing internal changes requires creating a shared vision and purpose for everyone who will be affected by the change. Employee feedback is a very important driver of internal change because you get reliable information from them about what area of the business is not working well, what can change, and how satisfied they are with the current situation in the company.
When it comes to external changes, taking into account your employees’ opinions and attitudes towards current trends and changes in the labor market is an important factor in maintaining the company’s competitiveness. By respecting your team’s professional judgment and expertise, you develop trust in management, which is essential for accepting change.
Present change as an opportunity for progress and growth
Every change in the work environment provides an opportunity to develop new professional skills. Encourage your team to see all the benefits that adapting to external changes brings not only to the company, but also to them personally. Show them that you believe in them, offer them all the resources for professional growth, and convince them that they are capable of performing at a higher level that previously seemed unattainable to them.
Internal changes such as company expansion, headcount, or changes in business strategy can be particularly stressful for employees. Presenting changes within the business as opportunities to improve your position, rather than jeopardizing their current position, will reduce the pressure your employees feel and they will be motivated to move forward.
Prepare them for change
If you have the capabilities and resources, you can empower your employees through education, training, and developing new skills to prepare them for change, both externally and internally. Preparation allows for the gradual introduction of people to change, which reduces fear of the unknown. When the time comes to implement the changes, no one in the company will be surprised or scared, but excited because what they have been preparing for a long time will finally be realized.
For this type of preparation to be successful, it is very important to be systematic in your approach and provide continuous support to your employees. Giving up halfway through, interrupting, and resuming could have a detrimental effect on motivation, employee confidence, and access to change.
Be positive and enthusiastic
Although both external and internal changes represent opportunities for progress, they also carry risks that cause stress, pressure and confusion. Therefore, the manager’s approach to change depends largely on how employees will behave.
Therefore, if the manager, as someone who leads the employees, worries about the impact of change or only points out the risks, the uncertainty will transfer to the team, which could develop resistance to change.
With a positive attitude and an enthusiastic approach, the leader should convey the message that change is the only path to progress and that there is no need to worry.
Change management is a long-term process that requires continuous work with employees and consistency. By making small changes to the day-to-day running of your business, you can develop your team’s flexibility, motivate them and give them the wind at their backs to move forward. When they experience the positive impact of these small changes, they will be more willing to accept large external and internal changes.
Successfully managing change builds confidence in management, boosts employees’ self-esteem and gives them reassurance that they have not wasted their energy, which has a positive impact on productivity. Therefore, preparing the team to successfully manage change should be an integral part of the company culture.