A big issue for organizations going through change is that it slows them down.
A big issue for people going through change is … that it slows them down.
In a time-pressed world where everything is due yesterday, slowing people down creates stress and hurts productivity and profitability.
I read a fantastic article in Harvard Business Review that talked about how change creates friction. Like riding a bike with a flat tire, additional friction creates a lot of work (and damages your wheel too)!!! I thought about that concept and could relate on a personal level because whenever I try something new, it takes time for me to get used to my new gadget or my new workout program before they become second nature.
So how can you reduce the friction, stress, and frustration that comes with change? How can you decrease the time for your people to adjust and to get used to the new normal? How can you make the journey easier?
Here are my top tips:
Understand the impact
Start by understanding who is being impacted how, and why. Different employees may be facing different types of change or different degrees of change. It is important not to lump everyone into one group.
Involve people early
The earlier you involve employees in the change, the better. Involving employees in the process helps gives them additional time to adjust and gives them some control over the process. When employees are included in the initial stages of change they are less likely to feel like the change is being forced on them, but rather it’s something everyone is working on together.
Be honest about what people can expect. This will help them mentally prepare for the change and avoid surprises, which nobody likes. By openly sharing information you create trust, which is an essential ingredient in a healthy culture.
Communicate the right way
Communicating change requires a different approach then communicating other company news. Keep employees informed by providing updates and sharing progress, success, delays, and challenges. Studies show that people prefer to learn about change through their managers so providing your management team with the information and tools to communicate the change is paramount. It is also important that you provide plenty of opportunities for people to have their say. Providing safe forums and asking the right questions gives people a chance to be heard.
While training provides employees with new skills, it is often not enough. Transition support, reference materials, and coaching can all help employees master their new skills or sail through a change efficiently without tearing their hair out or wanting to throw their computer out the window.
Give people time
We understand that schedules are jammed, and everyone is busy. But making sure people have the time to learn and adjust is critical. A small investment of time up front can prevent a lot of headaches down the road. And let’s face it, putting additional pressure on people does not lead to a positive outcome or a great change experience.
Making sure you reduce the stress and friction is key to helping your employees through change. If you need help, give us a call.