How to support your employees in times of transitions and restructurings
Companies constantly go through organisational changes – it is a natural part of business development that may comprise any shift within the working environment. Whether it is a new leadership, a general reorganisation, a merger, a recent acquisition, downsizing, a set of regulatory change, or any other transition – a company needs to undergo the change as smoothly as possible, even though it is often challenging and even confusing for the employees. As human beings, we are wired to crave stability, so when the status quo takes a hit, people are unavoidably filled with anxiety, low morale, and fear.
Being an HR manager, you are entitled with the task to support the team throughout the change that inevitably brings a palette of leadership challenges, uncertainty, and general tension in the office, given that your staff cannot predict the transition outcomes and feels less confident about the future. Fortunately, research proves that actively managing change is a way to increase the success rate of the transformations that are introduced.
It is important to remind your team of the fact that change is actually a norm – a leverage over the market requirements, a tool to breed enhancements and growth. Explain that business survival and development require strength to surmount uncertainties and go with a plan to overcome it. Entrepeneur authors notice that “nearly 90% of UK executives surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked organisational agility as vital for business success”. However, be aware that your employees might not see the full picture and therefore demonstrate a certain level of resistance towards any transformation.
You can successfully keep up their mood, engagement and productivity by making the company vision more comprehensive, transparent and clear, as well as by involving the team in the process. Here are some best strategies on how to lead your employees at times of change, providing great guidance and helping them to embrace the coming shifts:
- Hold regular status update meetings and confront the subject directly
It’s important to keep the so-called change communications regularly and upfront. Update the staff with the details and the transformation evolvement, answer the questions, divulge everything you are ready to make disclosed at every stage. American Management Association suggests: “If you expect employees to change, they must understand management’s vision and, more importantly, how change will benefit the organisation. Absent that, you will end up with unmotivated employees that resist change rather than embrace it”.
- Develop a plan of the next steps, share a compelling strategic vision
During times of change, people in the state of uncertainty want a comprehensive view of the things to come. Determine the next steps and provide your staff with the “big picture” story: it should commence with an overview of your strategic mission followed by a compelling and inspiring future vision. As Fast Company recommends, “people need to hear the ‘why’ several times, and if work processes or roles are changing, make sure that you have a change plan that recognizes those changes and helps people to navigate them. Make it clear to your team members: they are vital to the success of the transformation”.
- Engage your employees in the transformation process
Your workers need to flex their way through transition, and your role is to be its savvy facilitator. Grant your employees with a decision-making power, involve them along with senior and middle management so that each individual finds meaning in their shifting role. As your company develops its plan of action, you’ll gather a lot of statistics on business structures, processes, and strategies to understand what should remain as it is and what should be changed. But do not forget to consider the employees’ voices and needs. Give them a chance to express their feedback and proposals. As Harvard Business Review suggests, “another way to engage employees and drive commitment is to recognize those individuals who are embracing the change and demonstrating desired behaviours”. For instance, if you are modifying corporate policies, consider recognizing the employees who successfully branch out into the new rules implementation.
- Provide employees with support
Change may turn out to be a daunting experience – as an HR manager, support your staff throughout the process. Organise one-on-one conversations, express your empathy, offer valuable suggestions on how to navigate the transformations in the workflow, consider experiential learning exercises and team building activities – they may significantly help by giving a chance to bond over common experience and exchange useful advice.
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