Updated: Jul 11, 2020
There is no doubt that change has been thrust upon all of us in recent months. How we deal with that change as individuals is important but how we deal with change as employers is vital – not only for your employees - but for the ongoing success and wellbeing of your business. We’ve put together some “top tips” for approaching change and managing through it smoothly, effectively, and with compassion for those most impacted.
Why do we need to ‘actively’ manage change?
While change might feel like the new normal, as an employer there are many reasons you need to actively manage change within your organisation such as preventing issues like;
Personal grievances through unfair dismissal
Reduced employee health and wellbeing
and improve the positive impacts of change on your organisation like;
Active support and engagement with change initiative
Alignment between people, process and strategy
How do we ‘actively’ manage change?
In dynamic and uncertain times, it can be difficult to carve out the time to be methodical about change while continuing business operations, so keep it simple and cover all the bases with these key steps;
Identify – the need for change
Define – what successful change looks like for your organisation
Plan – the steps you need to take
Communicate – clearly and with transparency
Support – those people who are affected by change whether directly or indirectly
Review – the plan and the process at regular intervals. Are you on track?
Identify the need for change
Why do you need to initiate changes? Be clear with the reason(s) for change so you can communicate clearly to your team.
Financial; reduced revenue, increased costs,
Strategic; pivoting or diversifying your offer, shifting markets
Resources; underutilised resources, overtaxed resources,
Define what successful change looks like
What is the end goal? What are you telling your organisation you need to achieve? Define goals that are measurable and tangible. People need to know what they are aiming for and when they have achieved it.
Reduce costs, overheads, wastage
Increase sales in a particular category
Enter a new market
Plan the steps to get there
This doesn’t need to be a 100-page document full of analysis and forecasting that takes six months to develop. Bring in your executive or management team, be open and honest about the needs for change, and ask for their input and suggestions to achieve the desired end goal.
The change plan will focus on the impacts on people and teams and how they transition to a new way of working. Having support at the start of the process will ensure the right changes are made.
Note: If there are potential restructures and/or redundancy involved with the changes it is advisable to seek professional advice, before completing or communicating your plan, to make sure you are complying with relevant law and process. Bossed can help with a free consultation. Check out our service page
Communicate with clarity and transparency
You really only get one chance to inform your organisation about change initiatives. Most people do not like change because of fear of the unknown. When employers talk about “reducing costs, changing structures, shifting direction” many employees will wonder what that means for them. By following the ‘Identify, Define, Plan’ steps you will be able to clearly communicate the need for change, the desired future state of the organisation and your broad steps to get there.
It’s important that employees feel part of the process. That they have a voice and will be listened to throughout the implementation of the change plan – even if there is a possibility of restructure or redundancy.
Support people across the organisation
People react differently to changes even if they are not directly impacted. Be sure to assess how the changes will affect individuals and teams. Address how you will support them through the change. Whether it is increased responsibilities, greater decision-making ability, changes to their routine and the way they work with others, or changes to available resources. Make sure they have the information they need and a channel for open communication.
If restructure of redundancy is proposed, ensure that you are looking after not just those moving on, but also those remaining in the organisation. Make yourself and your executive team available for discussion and be receptive to new ideas from employees that may provide a different path to achieving the end goal.
Review progress regularly
Don’t wait until the end of the timeline to review your plan. Set milestones and review progress against them as a team. How are those affected, directly or indirectly, coping with the changes? Are there individuals or teams that are more (or less) engaged with the changes? Take the time to assess why and address potential issues before they become bigger problems that could derail your efforts in managing change. Is there an unexpected outcome, positive or negative, that should be used to adapt the change plan but for a smoother transition and more effective results?
Managing change is no easy task, but if done well it can lead to a more profitable, productive, and resilient organisation that can weather many storms.
If you would like assistance in starting your change journey - with your best foot forward - our team of experts at bossed can provide a free consultation to answer your key questions and support you to identify the best next steps.