Change is an inevitable part of business, and growing organisations tend to go through it more than most.
Whether you’re expanding your team to support growth, being bought out by a larger business, or even having to downsize, as a business owner you’re bound to see your company go through plenty of changes.
It’s really important that you keep your workforce resilient to change, but this isn’t always an easy task. We’ve put together the four most important things to think about to make sure your business change is a success for the whole team.
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes
It’s natural for the first thing for your employees to think when they hear there’s going to be a big change within the business to be: “What does this mean for me?”.
Their concerns are completely understandable, any threat to their livelihood is going to naturally put them on red alert.
So, the first step to effectively managing change within your organisation is to approach the situation with empathy. Even something as seemingly harmless as a change in your seating plan can have a big impact on how much your staff feel about coming in to work each day, so keep this in mind when you’re delivering the news and during the transition period.
Set out your vision
While some members of your team will naturally embrace change a lot more easily than others, some of your employees’ wellbeing relies on a stable and predictable working environment. Any change to that can be destabilising for them.
However, the same change can be a source of inspiration and motivation for your team if you approach it differently. Setting out your vision and explaining all the positives that can come from the change is the key to this.
For example, a merger with another business could leave staff wondering how the new members of their team will fit in, whether they’ll get along with their new teammates, and even if they’ll still have a job.
Your staff’s reaction to this change could be very different if you set out your vision and reiterate all the positives that will come along with the change. This could be - the ambitious new projects you’ll have the capacity to tackle after the merger, the expertise coming on board from the other company, and even how much the profile of your business will be raised.
By setting out a clear and concise vision, you’re giving your staff something to buy into. This is sure to help them get on board with the change and even embrace it.
Don’t sugar coat bad news
One of the downsides of being a business owner is that not all the news you’ll give your team is going to be good. Sometimes, the change will come in the form of a member of staff leaving the business, the loss of a key client or account or the unavoidable fact that the business will have to downsize.
When you’re navigating a change like this, it’s crucial not to attempt to sugar coat it. Of course, try to deliver the news in the most thoughtful and considerate way possible. But don’t withhold information or try to put a positive spin on something that is clearly bad news, as your employees may feel patronised on top of being worried, upset, or even angry about the news itself.
Let your staff know that you are in this together and your support is there should they need it.
All being well, you’ll never have to navigate a bad change in your business. But if you do, remember not to sugarcoat the reality to protect your staff, as they’re unlikely to appreciate it.
Be there for your team
Last but not least, remember that the very best leaders are always there for their team. Whether your business is heading in a positive new direction, or you’re having to navigate a rough patch, your team will have the best chance of sticking together if they feel like you have their back.
So, regularly check in with your employees during the transition period, making sure to ask how they’re feeling about the situation; and pay particular attention to those employees that you suspect won’t react to change well, as they could bring your whole team’s morale down if they don’t get on board with the new situation.
If you’re a sympathetic ear to your team and help support them in any way you can, you can be sure they’ll have an easier time adjusting to any change.
Keep these tips in mind when your company is going through a big change – whether it’s good or bad – and you’re sure to manage it as effectively as possible.
No matter how big or small, change be a challenge for even the most experienced business owners. Whatever change your business is facing, be it growth, recruitment, expansion on the scale down, DABS is here to help.
Take time to reflect and think about how the change will affect your team
Put a procedure in place whereby your team are fully supported through the process