Change can be tricky for people and organizations, especially if we’re talking about young employees and newbies who lack experience. On one hand, we know that change is inevitable, and that trying to avoid it is not the way to positive business results. It’s necessary to keep up with changing technology, competition, and economic circumstances. On the other hand, change also can create uncertainty, anxiety, and resistance.
Companies should allow new employees to get creative and come up with original ideas – there’s nothing better than a fresh pair of eyes and ears participating in a project where nobody else can deliver.
New employees are able to help a company get through change a lot faster, merely because they are new. New staff members are not invested in the status quo like existing employees are, so they often find it easier to accept new ways of doing things. Furthermore, new workers have more courage. They’ve got nothing to lose, so they can afford to take risks.
The 5 phases of change
Specialists have identified five phases that all changes go through, and the emotions that they typically generate. Can employees help their companies support change? Can they adapt and stay engaged to boost productivity? In spite of what everyone may think, change is challenging and it can’t be sustained by everyone. Let’s have a closer look at the 5 main phases of change that people go through at the workplace.
This is often the reason that drives a change. There may be signs of trouble, such as losing major customers, falling stock prices, or employees jumping ship. Some people in the organization start to realize that changes are necessary, while others are in denial, and insist that everything is fine.
During this stage, the company’s leadership decides to make a change, and they announce the plans to the employees. Some people welcome this, and are happy that the company is taking steps to address its problems. Others react with doubt or fear, wondering how this will affect them personally, and whether they could lose their job.
This is where the changes are made. The organization may be restructured, job assignments can be changed, and new processes could be put in place. Employees typically have a great deal of uncertainty, confusion, resentment, and even fear at this point. It is uncomfortable for many to deal with the changes at hand. The key to implementing change successfully is for a company to communicate with employees. Make an effort to ensure that your people understand the difficult choices you are compelled to make, and how tough it is for you – the manager, supervisor, CEO, entrepreneur – to deal with the situation as well.
This is a difficult phase. The changes have been made, but are not yet firmly in place. There can be some kinks with new processes, and mistakes made due to confusion. Often those who never wanted change in the first place are happy to point out how things aren’t working.
This is where you start to see the results of the change. If things went well, there will be new products, happier customers, greater sales, or a higher stock price. At this point, people’s emotions typically turn positive, with confidence, energy and optimism.
Tips for dealing with change
Explain what the change means in concrete terms for employees. Everyone wonders how an organizational change will impact them personally. This is a great source of uncertainty and fear, so try to let people know as best you can. Keep communication channels open. Establish regular updates to keep people informed of how things are going, and what to expect next. The more knowledge people have, the less uncertainty and anxiety they will feel.
Keep management visible and let people see the senior management. If the executive team is hidden away, people will have less trust and more fear. In today’s world, people should be able to adapt at the workplace without feel pressured in any way by supervisors. Some companies are not ashamed to admit that employee engagement is difficult to attain; nonetheless, as long as organizations are committed and devoted, persuading workers to stay with the company is not something impossible to achieve. It’s all communication, team work and building connections!
Steve Brown is a regular blogger and writer. He is an MBA from UCLA Anderson, resides in LA with his wife and one daughter. He has a deep knowledge in business and negotiation, and his articles are published in a variety of high ranking business sites including http://www.peopleinsight.co.uk/ who spend over 20 years measuring employee engagement. Steve also loves to cook and study books at his free time.