Change seems to be a constant theme today. While at the start of the year, adapting to Brexit was the biggest priority today it is the huge upheavals caused by coronavirus that are requiring a new focus on change management across the economy. For any business looking to ensure that change in the workplace is productively and proactively managed there are some key steps involved.
Plan for change
If you don’t already have contingency planning in place for change then it’s not too late to benefit from creating it. If you do have planning in place then make sure it’s constantly updated. Any good changing planning should revolve around objectives, markets, and a mission and integrate the affected areas of the business, as well as the impact on key people, such as customers and stakeholders.
Be clear about the change that is taking place
Make sure that you have defined the change that is taking place and that you continue to refine this as the situation evolves. COVID-19 and its impact on businesses and the economy is unpredictable so you may need to revise the definition of change and how it’s affecting your operations on an ongoing basis.
Make sure employees feel relevant
It’s important to give employees goals that relate to the current circumstances and to show how and where they are individually relevant to the future of the business. Many may be struggling with motivation right now and the more engaged they are with the business and its future the easier it will be to stay productive. Be clear about why change is being implemented and what benefits it may have.
Keep communication channels open
It’s likely that all members of the workforce, from employees to managers, will have questions about current changing circumstances and what this means for them. It’s essential to listen to concerns, to validate them and to provide clear and concise responses that are honest and straightforward.
Don’t shy away from talking about challenges
It’s the difficulties of the current circumstances that your workforce is most likely to be worried about so it’s crucial that you focus on these and don’t try to sweep them under the rug. Even if you don’t have perfect solutions in place yet, talking about the challenges and what the business is doing to tackle them will be reassuring for the people involved.
Provide a structure that makes changes relevant
The faster change can be integrated into performance appraisal, assessment, compensation, and promotion cycles the easier it will be for employees to adjust and be productive. Staff will want to know how they will be evaluated under the current circumstances and how career progress can be maintained – that’s why it’s essential to upgrade existing objectives and goals to make them relevant to the situation right now.
Change management is incredibly challenging for any business, especially in a situation where an entire economy is affected. However, there are steps that each organisation can take to ensure that negative impact is minimised.
Find out more by booking onto our Managing Change training course…