Change can come and go in a business, and if managed correctly, can be something that benefits both organizations and their staff. It is often inevitable as businesses grow and evolve, and like anything, there are challenges to overcome along the way in order to make it a successful experience for all stakeholders. Here, we will showcase three strategies to harness change to be a benefit within a business.
Why change may come about
Change may arise in a business for a multitude of reasons – from both decisions made by the company and those out of the hands of the organization. Internally, a company could undergo a digital transformation to revamp its processes or could relocate to new premises or working patterns. There could be a change in response to customer demand, and business owners may encourage change as they strive for continuous improvement. On the outside, new government legislation could force a change in operation, or other external factors including environmental changes or the outbreak of a new widespread virus might force change in pretty much the entire population.
Help the team understand the need for change
A very important step for your business when undergoing a period of change is to be absolutely clear about why this needs to happen. Some organizations and teams will not have undergone change for some time and explaining its necessity is going to be crucial. It can represent upheaval in a business for people and processes, so change needs to be managed effectively for it to be successful. It is also important to acknowledge what went on in the past, and not to dismiss this as suddenly the ‘wrong way’ to approach things. People may have worked that way for a long time and suddenly dismissing it can cause demotivation – the exact opposite of what is needed. Instead, you should praise what was good previously, talking about what can be learned from that in the new process, and why it will benefit everyone.
Ensure staff are well trained in new processes and procedures
Upcoming change can create uncertainty within a business, and depending on the workforce, staff may even be scared of the change. Change often involves entirely new processes being implemented and new technology or machinery being introduced. At this stage, investing in training is imperative, not only for the safety and welfare of employees but also for the change to be a success. Offering training as soon as possible will ease the transition and alleviate some of the worries people may be feeling. Providing knowledge and reassurance can reduce the chances of failure in the management of the change, and training relates to everyone within the organization.
Training is important even if there are no new processes to learn, so to speak. A company-wide rebrand, for example, represents a large change in an organisation, and while no new training is required in terms of carrying out the job, staff will see an impact on their day-to-day work. Initial workshops and seminars, as well as regular refreshers and training materials, are very important to familiarise everyone with the new branding and ensure it is rolled out successfully both internally and externally. Include opinions and feedback from staff if you are rebranding, pitch and share ideas to them. They may not be part of the team ultimately deciding the change but including them in the process allows them to contribute towards company-wide development.
Engage the team at every step and take on board feedback
If change is to be successful, you need a workforce that is invested in the change and the business goals behind it. Your workforce is going to be integral to both the change process and the business after the change has taken place, and it is important to have them on board with it. Two-thirds of organizational change management efforts fail because those that are affected by the change are rarely involved in designing that change, showing the impact the different approaches can have. Communication of the change and the process is important, but this goes further. You can include employees in the action change. Staff will feel part of the organisation, and crucially, they will feel valued in their role as part of the future of the business.
How change can ultimately benefit staff
If change is handled effectively and in the right way, then it can benefit your staff. Using staff in the right way all throughout the change process will make them feel valued, engaged and a part of the organization resulting in a motivated workforce. Change may also present the opportunity for staff to develop new skills, opening the door for further opportunities in the business. Managing organisational change in the correct way will benefit the company and the workforce; include staff in the change, make them feel integral, ensure they have all the tools and training necessary and the change could be a road to continuous improvement for your business.
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