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Change Management

This past year has been a year of change.

Many of our clients have transitioned into fully remote or hybrid roles, service offerings have changed, business plans have adjusted, budgets have been cut, and the list goes on.

Regardless of whether it is going to be perceived as positive or negative, change is challenging for most. Did you know there is actual science behind this?

The longer something is in effect, the better it is perceived as being. People are drawn to what is stable, reliable and “known”.

When we have a client that is experiencing change, we want to support them by ensuring that the change is effectively communicated and implemented with the support of the entire organization.

Today, we will walk you through a few areas that we think are critical to successful change management.

Step One – Communicate the Change

Ideally before the change takes place, you want to give your teams time to ask questions, engage in onboarding the new process and allow for them to have a chance to “buy-in”. If you can’t engage everyone before implementing a change, get them involved as early on in the process as possible.

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When communicating the change, you want to ensure you provide context around the “why”.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • What prompted the need for the change?
  • How did you decide what solution to you were going to implement?
  • How will this impact the business and them specifically?
  • Provide timelines if the changes are permanent so there is a clear roadmap

Step Two – Transparency & Integrity

In order to alleviate the anxiety and fear that comes with change, the best thing employers and leaders can do is be transparent and provide a safe space for open dialogue.

Invite employees to be able to share any concerns or assumptions.

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Pro Tip: the quicker you are to talk to your employees, the easier it will be to avoid gossip and false facts

If your organization was hurt financially, you are not alone. By being vulnerable with your teams, you invite them to champion a rebuild and stay invested in the continued success of your team.

Step Three – WIIFM

You’ll see this piece of advice as a common theme in our blogs and over HR advice.

WIIFM: What’s In It For Me

Your teams will need to know how this impacts them, and company wide emails and speeches won’t cut it. Ensure you are providing your teams with honest and constant feedback around their own performance, to ensure that you are valuing their professional growth during moments of transition.

With our larger clients, contact 1:1s are not always feasible, even when involving management at all levels. If that is the case, we recommend providing your teams with a tool to submit their questions and concerns honestly and anonymously.

Organizations know that regardless of the reason change is the cornerstone of growth, and while it may be critical to your success so is the happiness of your employees.

Step  Four – Get Buy-in

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You already know that turnover costs organizations about ¾ of that employees’ salary. The buy in you get prior to, or early on in times of change will result in lower turnover – fact.

Easy ideas to generate buy in are:

  • Know what your employees love to do and connect the change to those pieces of their role
  • Have fun – no matter how difficult things are getting, you owe it to your teams to celebrate small wins, celebrate being a team and encourage one another to have fun at work
  • There is a difference between giving your employees tasks and responsibility; the later will yield much more buy-in
  • Growth within companies, especially small and medium sized organizations, does not have to be vertically; lateral growth can also be extremely rewarding
  • Remember that your employees are working for you and have lives outside of your company that need to be honored and respected
  • Do you provide “insider information” to your teams? You’d be surprised at how far trusting your teams can go

Overall, after a chaotic year, we found that the employees that genuinely care and become invested in the change within companies are the ones that are part of the process, not just a result of a decision.

For more support in how to lead your teams through challenging times, reach out to hr@careercontacts.ca – our HR Consulting division is experienced and ready to support you!

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