“Change is the only constant in life.” This couldn’t be truer in the context of business. You face different sets of challenges every day, which entail making adjustments in a lot of aspects, from goals and strategies to culture down to the very manner you use your resources. But, even though change is an inevitable reality, people still struggle accepting it. You perhaps rolled out a new communications policy, restructured the organizational hierarchy, or simply, decided to move to a new office, but you feel a palpable resistance from your employees. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some steps you can take to help your team embrace the change.
Discuss the change in-depth.
Most of the time, people’s aversion to change comes from a place of fear. Fear of the unknown, to be specific. When you implement a new policy or embark on a new direction, there’s always going to be questions in the minds of your employees. Why the change? How will the change affect work? How to adjust smoothly? A good business leader anticipates these questions and helps people appreciate the importance of the change. Aside from this, you should be able to create that atmosphere of free speech, in that your team will feel like they won’t be judged for throwing in their two cents. Listen to their feedback, acknowledge their contribution, and consider it genuinely. You never know, you might just improve further the new policy or strategy you’re planning to get on. The principle is, it should be an open discussion.
Create a coalition.
It’s normal not to have everyone on board with what you wanted to do next. But if you can’t have everybody, at least get the buy-in of a few. When you’re able to secure the nod of a few — who have the strongest influence in your workplace — it’s easier to get the rest on board later. They could win their co-workers in their everyday conversations, see opportunities for promoting the change, and take note of the challenges you probably haven’t prepared for. Create a team of ambassadors for change. If you can involve them in the decision-making process before the actual change, better. For instance, in the example mentioned above, relocating your office, tap a few employees who can scout for locations and hire office furniture movers. Salt Lake City-based HR specialists say that these simple tasks can make your employees own the change more quickly because they’re doing something about it.
Appreciate the small wins.
If you’re taking on a big change, the effects of such an action may be felt at a much, much later time. It would take a longer period to see the fruits of your new business strategy or vision. Over time, this may feel like what you did is just a waste of time and resources. It can discourage your employees. It can make them more hesitant for other plans for change. In these instances, it’s important to celebrate the small victories. Break up the big dream into short-term goals, so you can clearly see the milestones you’re hitting. For instance, when your client praises your new communication platform, highlight it in your town hall meetings or post it on your online bulletin board. Make a big deal out of the small wins.
Change is inevitable in the workplace. But understand that it’s a reality that employees can’t fully embrace in an instant. With these strategies though, you can help them bit by bit. One step at a time.