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Apr 20, 2018

Approx. 5 min. read

Surviving Organizational Change: How to Power Your Employees Through

Digital services, technologies and workplaces are causing major changes in all types of workplaces. Managing your employees well and making sure they...

Digital services, technologies and workplaces are causing major changes in all types of workplaces. Managing your employees well and making sure they thrive amid fast-paced developments is vital to your success.

If we all were asked to describe what our jobs and workplaces will look like in the future, there’s only one thing we could tell for sure: that they will be different from what they are now. Change is inevitable and it is the only way to grow and make sure we stay on track as the world around us keeps evolving at an accelerating speed. But in the midst of constant change, how do you ensure your employees stay in on board with the changing workplaces? If I were you, I’d follow these seven easy steps to make sure you can successfully navigate your employees through developments in your organization:

Step 1: Communicate the Goals Clearly

Things shouldn't be changed just for the change of changing things. Trying new methods and technologies is good, but only if behind it is a genuine belief that things will improve. And most of the time there is, but without open and clear lines of communication, your employees may not be aware of why changes are needed. Employees need to be as informed as possible and everything in your business is their business as well. So whether it’s financial trouble or the need to expand to new markets, employees who feel like they know and can agree with the company goals are much more likely to be on board with changes.

Step 2: Be Emphatic but Strategic

Remember that openness to experience is a personality trait - some people are naturally against change, and some are more receptive to it. So the way certain people react to change isn’t necessarily a testament to the transitioning skills of the management, but a mirror of the personalities of these people. When preparing for change, management can use this knowledge to their advantage and start the organizational development process by introducing the idea to people who are generally more open to change, and when these people are on board, use their enthusiasm to spread the message also to those people who don’t usually respond as well to changes.

Step 3: Find a Liaison Between Management and Employees

Unless the company is very small, the C-level is unlikely to engage with each and every employee on a daily basis. Team leaders, supervisors or managers (whatever they are called in your company) can be harnessed to communicate the concerns of the employees to the management, as well as communicate the visions of managers to their team members.

Another way to choose your liaisons is to seek out and lean on your internal influencers.

Internal influencers are people who have the personality, social skills and interests to truly affect the culture and atmosphere of your company. You can achieve great success in your organizational changes if you manage to get the internal influencers on board from the beginning. They can share the positive attitude towards the changes with their colleagues and spread the good word for you. In case conflicts arise, they can help smooth the waters and help carry messages and concerns from employees to management and vice versa.

To locate your internal influences, click here: Identify and Engage Your Internal Influencers.

Organizational change requires good communication

Step 4. Micro-manage (Yes! Finally!)

Organizational changes are excellent opportunities to break down operational structures and look at the macro-level of processes. For example, when your company migrates from one intranet to another, it makes sense to audit your internal channels and make sure they are still up-to-date. Or, if you are physically changing offices, reviewing current teams and their physical locations in relation to each other makes sense. Encourage supervisors and employees to review all processes which might be related to the up-and-coming organizational change and make changes accordingly.

Step 5. Empower Your Employees (For Real)

A big reason why so many people react negatively to change is that they fear losing control. You can change the tone from negative to positive by making sure everyone who wants their opinions heard will be heard, and make sure your employees know that their input is not only valuable but will also have a real impact. And then make sure that happens. “Everyone’s opinion matters” is just a hollow phrase in the employee handbook if no changes are never actually made based on the opinions of employees. So, as you embrace yourself, your company and your employees for changes to come, be ready to change your own opinions and plans if someone comes along with better ideas.

Step 6. Trust and Be Trustworthy

We like to talk about trust because we honestly believe it is the key to employee engagement and in that way, the key to having a successful company. Changes are a time of uncertainty, but this should not spread a culture of mistrust in your company. It is vital to the success of any organizational change that employees believe that management has their best interest at heart and that no changes are made at the expense of the employees. Similarly, it is equally important that management trusts that their employees are doing their best and have the best interest of the company and their customers at heart.

Step 7. Focus on Culture and Shared Values

Your company lives and dies with your company culture. Focus on creating a culture where employees can be themselves and grow professionally. Create a knowledge sharing culture which fosters free flow of information and ensures there are no broken channels where communications and knowledge gets lost. When you actively foster and encourage a knowledge sharing culture, your employees will be more receptive to changes, be they big or small.

Free Guide - Organizational Knowledge Sharing 101: How to get Started

Written by

Mia Mäkipää

Mia Mäkipää

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