Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to Help Your Staff Adjust to Change

Change is one of the hardest issues that managers deal with in the workplace. Whether it is updating the company's technology, adding in new staff members or simply replacing the furniture, employees typically resist change. While it is inevitable that managers will often have to make changes to keep business running smoothly, there are ways to mitigate the effects it will have on your staff.

Help Them Get Used to the Idea

One of the best ways to introduce something new to the workplace is to allow your staff to gradually adjust to it. Let them know in advance that you will be remodeling the office and that their desks will be replaced. Start by gradually replacing the furniture in common areas, then finally their personal furniture. This principle can work with other changes as well. Let them test out a demo version of a new software while still using their old system. They will be able to accept change better if it is gradual.

Understand That They Will Go Through Stages of Grief

Adjusting to change is often akin to the adjustment to any major loss in life. People will go through denial, hoping that the news of a change is simply a rumor. They will then go through anger, lashing out and becoming enraged at the thought of having a new boss. They may try to bargain or negotiate, hoping that improving their work performance may stave off the change. Finally, they will accept the new change and start to move on in their work lives.

Helping your staff get used to the idea of change means understanding these stages and helping them through them. Expect anger, disbelief and shock. Taking change management courses can help you to better understand these concepts and manage your staff.

Communicate With Them

When you are introducing new policies or staff, it is important to communicate with your existing staff. If you don't tell them what is happening and how it will affect them, they will start to spread rumors. This will lower morale at the company and lead to a loss of productivity. When you communicate with them openly and honestly, they can make the right conclusions and feel more secure about their role in the workplace.

Be Flexible

When you introduce something new to your workplace, understand that everything may not go smoothly. In change management training courses, managers are taught to recognize the signs that the change is not going according to plan. Perhaps one of your staff members was on vacation when you trained the staff on the new software and you now have to train him separately. Maybe the assistant does not work well with her new boss. The IT department may have a hard time integrating your new software with the old operating system.

When you make major changes in the workplace there may be setbacks and delays. If you anticipate these setbacks, you will be in a better position to overcome them.

Keep Spirits High

New change may mean that some well-liked staff members move to different departments or a favorite chair is replaced by new, ergonomic ones. The key during major change is to keep spirits high. Now is the time to pull out all the stops when it comes to enjoying a happy staff. Bring in breakfast a few days a week and give out incentives for excellent work. Openly praise and thank your staff for their cooperation and reassure them that they are still doing a good job. If they feel secure that they are still valuable to the organization, they will be able to keep up with their work in spite of any new changes.

As a manager, there are times when you will have to help your staff adjust to workplace changes. Even small changes can change the dynamic in an office, and handling these with finesse is key. A Diploma of Change Management will help you to get the skills you need to manage these workplace changes. Start on the road to this exciting diploma program today.

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