How to Lead Employees Through Change

Employees understand that change is inevitable, but can feel overwhelmed when it needs to happen quickly. A plan to lead employees through change should consider their expectations and feelings. Here are some ways in which you can help employees get comfortable and contribute to a steady pace of change.

Specify the reason for the change

It’s important to be transparent about the reason behind any change, as it can make the change easier to accept. Have a town hall to explain how the transition relates to the company’s overall objectives and values. Provide the full context of the situation so that your team sees the change as part of a larger vision. It’s also worth looking at how workforce management solutions can fit the picture and help you lead and manage change now and in the future.

Encourage openness

A culture of open communication makes employees feel comfortable discussing issues. If there isn’t such an environment in place, you’ll need to make a special effort to encourage employees to express any concerns about the change with their managers. Convincing employees is easier when managers are consistent about what they say. Consider creating FAQs or other documents to provide managers with clarity so that they can pass on the right messages to their teams.

Have 1-on-1 talks

Frequent one-on-one talks with staff help strengthen relationships and allow you to know their thoughts on recent changes and share any ideas on how the change processes can be better. Stay connected with your team through the change cycle, as everyone processes change differently. If you notice any signs of discouragement, reach out to your whole group in team meetings and to individuals who may need it more during one-on-ones. Ask meaningful questions such as “Are you experiencing any roadblocks?” or “How can I help you through this?”. Showing care and concern for how your people are feeling will create a space for thoughtful dialogue.

Prepare for resistance

No matter what your leadership style or how well you communicate, it is likely that you will face some resistance when implementing change. This should not be taken lightly, as a lack of buy-in to change can result in disengagement and have a negative ripple effect on the morale of the team. Identify supporters and detractors of change. Have separate 1-on-1 meetings with detractors. Give them support and space to adapt to new ways of working at their own pace.

Have an action plan

It’s important to provide your team with clarity and visibility around the change. This is to help reduce their anxiety and motivate them as the changes are implemented. Communicate any shift in the plan of action quickly. You don’t need to have all the answers, but it’s essential to create an action plan with the next steps to ensure the transition goes smoothly. Leverage workforce management solutions to implement company-wide change communication.

Support employees

Providing employees with resources, such as training courses and mentors, is effective in helping them adapt and succeed during periods of change. Also, solicit their opinions and expectations to make change beneficial for everyone. For example, for an operations transition, you can poll employees to determine their preferred work environment between remote, office, or hybrid settings. This will give them the opportunity to choose what works best for them and makes the shift easier.

Celebrate successes

Recognize the hard work of your team throughout the change process and celebrate wins along the way. Showing gratitude with a simple thanks in-person or via email will help people feel more positive emotions. If you’re open to offering other incentives, understand what your team values and create monetary/non-monetary rewards that resonate with them.

Workforce management solutions support change management

The right solutions for managing hourly workforces can aid the transition to new processes and ways of working under your change strategy. Contact Everest Recruiting for more information and insights.

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