BusinessEntrepreneurLEADERSHIP

4 Steps to Helping Your Employees Embrace Change

time-for-change

Even if we’re adventurous in our regular life, many of us prefer stability when it comes to our place of employment. 

But running a business is all about improving efficiency—if things aren’t working, they need to change. You might need to implement different processes and programs to boost productivity or cut down on costs. 

One of the main reasons why changes fail isn’t because they’re poorly planned, or that they’re “bad” ideas. It has to do with how your employees react to those changes.

Changing outdated processes and systems can serve to benefit both the company and the staff. Use these steps to show your employees that change isn’t always a bad thing:

Make It Clear Why You’ve Made This Decision

As humans, we tend to imagine the worst-case scenario. That’s why it’s important to be clear about the rationale behind your ideas. Without transparency, your employees will imagine their own reasons for why things are changing. Are you selling the business due to financial troubles, which threatens their job security? Are you implementing new software because you find their performance unsatisfactory?  

One of the most common mistakes when selling a business is to conceal the reasons why the sale was made. It’s best to be open and honest with your employees to dispel any rumors. When you’re introducing new ideas, follow up with your reasoning behind them.

Employees can have different reactions to different levels of change. Selling your business could be a drastic change, but bringing in a new program is a small one. When you’re explaining what’s happening, make sure to frame things realistically. 

Emphasize The Benefits

Your employees are more than individuals who work in a shared space—they’re also a team. The workforce behind your business is what keeps things running smoothly and efficiently each day. 

Consider the effects of clean environments and your mental health; when you take the time to tidy your workplace, it becomes easier to focus and be productive. The same effect can happen when you optimize the processes in a workplace. Tell your staff about how the proposed changes can make their jobs easier, more efficient, and less confusing. 

If employees are noticeably unhappy with how things are changing, provide support for them. Arrange a one-on-one meeting where they can voice their concerns freely. You might find that those reactions come from misunderstandings or fears of losing their job. 

Show empathy toward them, and reassure them that resistance to change is normal. But remind them that as a business, we must be willing to adapt. Doing so allows us to improve ourselves and our quality of work.  

Commit To It

If employees sense that you’re on the fence about the new change, it will hold them back from committing. They look to leadership during uncertain periods—if you demonstrate that you’re also uncertain, they won’t take the leap with you.

Sometimes, changing the way things work fails because leaders neglect to focus on the people who need to implement those changes. Getting everyone on board with your new idea is a key determinant of its success. And to do that, you’ll need to commit to it fully. Confidence is key. When you’re altering processes or implementing a new system, be sure to emphasize its strengths. Be firm about how the old ways simply don’t work effectively anymore. 

Celebrate Progress

No one said that change would be easy. Oftentimes, there are bumps along the way. But when progress is made, make sure to recognize it. Doing so will let your employees know that you appreciate their willingness to adapt.

Show your employees that you appreciate their hard work. Recognize that they’re putting in the effort to trust your leadership and grow with the business. When their efforts pay off, give something back to your employees by scheduling a company lunch, group activity, or even a vacation day. Your employees will feel more engaged when you recognize their hard work.

Every day, our world goes through changes. Your business needs to change with it. Without flexibility and the ability to rethink old processes, you’ll fall behind the curve—and your revenue will fall with it.

The way you implement your ideas makes all the difference in how your employees will react to them. Using the steps above, you can make lasting changes in the workplace that all staff members can accept and adapt to with ease.