Do your employees seem anxious or jumpy whenever something changes? Perhaps you recently changed policy or implemented some new software, and some on your team reacted negatively. They appeared upset or even disgruntled.
Change Happens, but Unmanaged Change Creates Anxiety
So what’s going on here? Why are people getting anxious and unhappy whenever management rolls out a change? Well, most of it is natural. Change happens, and people don’t tend to like change. We can’t avoid change: companies that want to survive have to change, sometimes frequently or drastically.
Even though resistance to change is natural, you can still help your staff through the change by managing it effectively. This is called change management, and when done well, it can make a huge difference not just in your employees’ quality of work-life but also in how much your organization benefits from the change.
Change Management: A Definition
Change management at its core is simply good, clear, and organized communication before, during, and after any change. This might sound fairly obvious to you: of course, you want to tell your team about a change. But you might be surprised just how often communication about change is incomplete.
Does your change management strategy need some shoring up? Here are a few pitfalls to avoid.
1) Inform All Affected Parties
As you consider a change in your business (say, implementing a new piece of software), be sure to inform all affected parties. One common pitfall is to fail to consider who all will be affected by a change.
You may have consulted with your accounting team about a new accounting software package, but is that truly the only department affected? How will that software affect your sales force? Does IT have any added burden in supporting it?
You’ll never know if you don’t ask. And the success of the will be at risk, too.
2) Explain the Rewards of Implementing (and Consequences If You Don’t)
As we said above, people don’t like change. If they don’t understand why the change is necessary, they are likely to fight it. Effective change management includes a clear explanation of the reasons this change is needed. Explain how the change will improve people’s lives. Don’t assume they will figure this out intuitively. Say it clearly, and maybe even repeat it a few times as the rollout nears.
Of course, some changes don’t make life better for everyone, but they’re still necessary. In that case, you need to explain the consequences of not implementing the change. Is this something you must do to keep up with competitors or to meet customer demand? Then not implementing could very well cost you your business and put your employees out of work.
It’s amazing what a little perspective will do for change acceptance, especially related to job security.
3) Show How and When the Change Will Occur
Another common pitfall is announcing a change but failing to include the necessary details. Don’t hope that your employees will “just figure it out.” Take the time to show exactly how the change will occur. What steps are necessary? What actions will individual employees need to take? Will there be a planned outage or stoppage? And most importantly, when exactly will this change take place.
Change management doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by informing all parties, explaining the rewards and consequences, and answering the questions in the paragraph above. You’ll be well on your way to happier, less anxious employees.
About the Author
ASL Forwarding is a trusted courier service and freight brokerage serving the state of Florida with a focus on the South Florida area. If you’re looking to add courier service to your business or are looking to make a change from your existing courier or freight broker partner, contact us today.