Embracing Workplace Change

By Distinct Advantage Partner |

All organizations constantly goes through various degrees of change. Although some employees may embrace these changes with a “bring it on” mentality, most individuals find workplace changes to be confusing, stressful and overwhelming.

Store employee wearing a protective facemask while on the phone

In fact, a recent study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 71 percent of employees who experienced a large company change within the last year were less satisfied with their job than those who experienced little to no change. This is especially troubling when you consider that we are living in a climate of change. In the study, it was reported that 50 percent of the respondents say they were affected or will be affected by organizational changes this year.

While change in the workplace can’t be avoided, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the negative effects on employees, such as dissatisfaction and burnout. It’s imperative that leaders provide employees with a healthy work environment and continuous support throughout a company change to promote an easy transition for the employees and the company.

A company’s culture can affect employees’ response to change

Company culture can largely affect how employees respond to workplace change. The APA study showed that participants responded more negatively to change if they believed their management had a hidden agenda, or that their motives and intentions were different from what they said. This lack of trust was one of the biggest drivers of how the participants responded to change. On the other hand, the study showed that participants who responded more favorably to change reported they worked for companies that had a culture centered on recognition, communication and engagement.

Recognizing employees and promoting healthy communication will ultimately lead to employees feeling more engaged and satisfied with their role.

Recognizing employees and promoting healthy communication will ultimately lead to employees feeling more engaged and satisfied with their role. Employers can promote a healthy company culture by staying communicative and transparent with employees about upcoming changes within the company.

It’s also important to ensure all employees are aligned and engaged with the company’s culture before initiating any large company changes. By promoting a positive work culture, employees are more likely to be adaptive and resilient throughout any difficulties that may arise from company changes.

Best practices for implementing change

Changing employee workflows, operating systems, and other structural changes can be overwhelming for most employees. To ensure a smooth transition, try the following action items:

  • Communicate the change early on. Have an open discussion with employees about why the change is occurring and what the expectations are for the change (e.g., better work environment, equipment, operations or opportunities). Never wait to communicate a huge initiative until the last second.
  • Recognize the achievements made under the old systems or operations. It’s important for employees to feel that all their hard work is still appreciated and is not being overlooked by the new system or procedure.
  • Discuss the pros and cons. Leaders need to be transparent about any roadblocks or inconveniences employees may experience during the change.
  • Explain who will be affected and how. Before the change occurs, ensure all employees are aware of how it may affect them individually or as a department.
  • Explain when the change will occur. If possible, provide employees with a timeline for when the change will be taking place and how long it will take for the company to prepare for it.
  • Recognize that making any sort of change will elicit emotions ranging from denial, resistance, acceptance and commitment. Managers and supervisors can try to eliminate anxiety, negative feelings, or loss of focus by reaching out, being empathic, listening intently, and encouraging dialog.
  • Implement the change in stages. If there are various phases to the new change, try implementing them over time. This allows employees more time to grasp any new concepts and ask questions as necessary.
  • Be open to any modifications to the new procedure or operation. Once the transition has begun, be receptive to any new suggestions employees may have that could improve any new systems or processes.
  • To help employees through workplace change, managers must offer support and open lines of communication.

    To help employees through workplace change, managers must offer support and open lines of communication. Following best practices for handling company changes can ensure a smooth transition for both your company and your employees.

    For more information regarding workplace changes, contact AmeriBen Human Resource Consulting today at https://hrc.ameriben.com/.

    About the Author

    This article was provided by an MWI Animal Health Distinct Advantage™ program partner. For more information or to discuss how your practice can qualify for a free Distinct Advantage program membership, contact your MWI Territory Manager or click here.

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