“Change” is often a scary word in the business world. Employees dread it, managers are intimidated by it and, many times, the change fails before any team members are even faced with it. But, with the right management training, change doesn’t have to be a looming threat to your company’s stability.
Change management isn’t just about dealing with a time of transition. It’s about changing the way you manage the transition to keep things running smoothly for employees. To do this effectively, it’s important to understand three major challenges you’ll need to overcome.
One of the most difficult challenges businesses are up against during times of transition is lagging workplace productivity. Maintaining a regular workflow is sometimes difficult even during times of stability. With transition in the mix, there are even more disruptions to productivity, like increased meetings, additional training and extra time spent reorganizing.
So, how should managers use their change management skills to address decreased workplace productivity levels during transitions?
Communication is key to helping your employees maintain “business as usual” while change is implemented. Here are three imperative times to be communicating with employees:
- Prior to the change. Before you ever begin to implement your change management plan, you should communicate it to employees so they have an idea of what to expect. They’ll be able to prepare themselves and their work before the change is implemented.
- During the change. Regularly check in with your team members so you know how they’re handling the change. For example, if your company is implementing a new computer system, ask your employees how they’re adapting to this new system, whether they feel comfortable using it and what impediments they’re facing.
- Following the change. Implementing a successful change doesn’t stop after installation or reorganization is complete. Follow up with employees for feedback on both the process of change and your change management efforts. In doing so, you’ll glean valuable insight on how to improve for future transitions.
Change has a tendency to drive employees away. They could view a company that institutes regular transitions as one that’s unstable (which may or may not be the actual case). Retaining employees is an essential goal to be working toward at all times, but it’s especially important during times of change.
Retention is paramount for maintaining stability. You don’t want to lose your most skilled and hardest-working employees. That’s when work begins to fall through the cracks and a lack of continuity disrupts your workforce. What’s more, your current employees can easily become overwhelmed by both the change and the new slack they’re picking up from vacant positions.
The best way to retain top employees during transition is to get them involved in the change process. By regularly asking for feedback, you empower people to have a voice in the transition and work to improve it.
Choose key members of your team to become “experts” on the new process or system through proper training, and allow them to work with other employees as they learn. When team members feel a sense of ownership over a new system or process, they’re less likely to have reservations about it or become so frustrated that they go looking for a new job.
Ultimately, the greatest way to get a positive return on your change management training investment is to ensure that your program or transition succeeds.
Often, companies make a large investment in a change, like buying a new software system or sinking time into a reorganization. They may even hire new team members to support it. Considering about 70% of change initiatives fail, [link to: ] you need to be concerned about losing the investment you’ve made.
To ensure the success of your program, follow this five-step process:
- Strategize the change
- Prepare for the upcoming transition
- Communicate your plan to the team
- Implement the change
- Request feedback from your team
When you follow this plan and pay attention to how change is received by your team, you increase your chances of seeing a positive return on your investment.
Learn more about successful change management tactics by downloading Vital Learning’s free management training e-book.