Transitioning employees through change using effective engagement approaches
By Talitha Jario
Public Relations Consultant.
There is a saying that change is inevitable, so if you don’t adapt you die. The world is changing at an alarming rate and technology has played a massive role in this. In an ever-changing world, social norms, practices and behaviors are evolving.
Immediacy, ease and convenience have now become priorities for consumers, who are looking for companies which fulfil these needs first and foremost.
Changes in consumer preferences, needs and purchasing behavior are impacting the way businesses operate. Therefore, businesses have no option but to adapt to the market’s demands or become obsolete. Although change in business is definitely necessary, it can be uncomfortable and unfortunately it, will more often than not impact employees.
As a result, demands and expectations are placed on employees to make sure they align with advancing the company’s goals without necessarily taking them through an adequate transition process. However, if this transition is forced onto the employees, it can have negative repercussions on the business and brand as a whole. Employees can become a destructive force instead of aiding in the change and rebuilding process.
So, how should you take employees through a time of transition?
1. Educate them: it is important that employees understand why it is important to change and the necessity of doing so for the business. They need to know and understand the impact on business and their role, should they not adapt to change. It is also crucial to elaborate on the reasons the desired course of action was taken, what will be required from the employee in terms of added responsibilities, time and effort as well as how this will impact their duties.
2. Involve them: be as inclusive as possible and see your employees as partners in the process. Although not all opinions can always be considered, embracing diverse views and approaches is always beneficial in bringing out the best in any project. Give your employees ownership through tasks, and allow them to lead some of the processes, while supervising them, of course. If your employees feel that they are included and valued then they are less likely to push back against the changes.
3. Consult them: consultation is often viewed negatively, as this practice has been considered as requesting permission. However, this should not be the case. Consultation sends the message to employees that because the company’s decision affects them, the company needs their input on the risks, challenges and opportunities that may have been overlooked as well as on how change will be instigated and what can be done to address any concerns.
4. Provide feedback: Never ignore questions or worries, but treat every contribution with merit, easing uncertainties, giving clarity where misunderstandings have risen, openly discarding and providing reasons as to why certain causes of actions will not be viable for the business.
Make sure every process has a feedback mechanism built in so that queries can be dealt with along the way and not once the process has been finalized.