Change is inevitable. Whether it’s planned or not, it’s the one thing in life we can ever really be sure about. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Alastair Kane offers some advice on keeping employees happy when communicating change.
Change in the workplace can lead to great advancements – but while accepting and adapting to change often leads to great benefits, not all changes are universally popular. Because of this, ensuring employees remain unified, happy and motivated in the face of workplace change should be as big a job as implementing changes themselves – so how do you keep staff on-side when communicating change?
Encourage your employees to expect change
If employees know the organisation they work in welcomes and needs change, they won’t be afraid of it – sometimes the uncertainty of change can be disillusioning and scary. To keep staff enthusiastic about their work and where the organisation is headed as a whole, stress that change forms part of an evolutionary business process, and that it should be seen as necessary, progressive and positive rather than concerning.
The clue’s in the title: Communicate!
If you don’t let employees know about effective changes until the last moment, a sudden ‘reveal-all’ approach may shock, surprise or alienate them. In order for employees to remain happy and on-side with their roles and their employers, they need to feel valued, and above all connected as a part of a team. The best way to achieve this connection, loyalty, and happiness is through good communications.
So by communicating well, explaining what’s going on, the reasoning for change and how changes may affect staff (through group talks, one-to-ones, emailing etc) employees will feel better valued, involved in the process, and connected to the company. This doesn’t mean you have to spill every little detail about major events to all, just don’t keep all employees completely in the dark.
Expect, encourage and welcome questioning
Just as your employees will want managerial feedback to judge their own success, so you should ask them for feedback regarding your changes. Part of keeping staff happy in the face of workplace change is to offer them the support and encouragement they need to adapt to change – and by welcoming their opinion, you’ll receive their support back. If there are qualms and questions, respond to them as quickly and as honestly as possible to show staff you care about them.
Communicating change by … listening!
From discouraged opinion to the whispers of gossip and rumour – people talk! But by communicating quickly, being supportive and welcoming questions from staff at all levels (as above), you’ll minimise the spinning of the rumour mill and quash negativity. Of course if there are incorrect speculations it’s wise to openly address and correct them before they get out of hand.
And if employees seem disengaged and unproductive as a result of change, seek to correct this by asking them – without blame – for their views and opinions. Communication is key!
So communicate change honestly, openly, and within good time to all those involved in your organisation to keep employees on side, understanding, and excited about their evolving workplace!
Author bio: Alastair Kane is a writer and business blogger and provided this article for Communicaid a cultural and business communication skills consultancy offering business communications training.