Content provided by a guest contributor.
There is no getting around it: the traditional models of the past have no place in today’s fast-paced business environment. Those careerists at the top who expect to remain in those positions until retirement are deluding themselves.
Unless you are prepared to recognise change and take the necessary steps to embrace it, you will very soon find yourself out in the cold.
That is not to say managing change is an easy ride. Job satisfaction is bolstered by a sense of security, and naturally there is a certain amount of fear when changes are made.
One need only look at the newspaper industry to understand how the dramatic change to “online-first” strategies has impacted staff. Reporters have had to come out of their comfort zone by adding multimedia skills to their basic investigative abilities.
For some, the challenge has been a bridge too far, particularly as the industry’s future remains uncertain. Consequently, they have left to pursue other careers.
Of course the last thing an employer wants is for staff to leave, so it is important that any looming change is managed properly. While employees will see through any cursory attempts to put a positive spin on transformation, it is nevertheless crucial that they are made aware that without reform, the business will stagnate and no longer be competitive.
Some handy pointers for overseeing the reform process include:
Transparency from the start
Staff members will quickly become unhinged if they feel they are being left in the dark. Good leadership courses always emphasise the importance of transparency in business, and that should be carried through in the transformation process.
It is no good springing surprises on staff at the last minute. They need time to come to terms with what is about to happen, and be afforded time to adjust. There should be provisions made for employee input, as staff members might have some positive ideas that could contribute to the new idea.
Transparency creates trust, which is important when taking the team in a new direction.
Understand how employees think
Broaching the subject of change needs to be an empathetic process. If the reforms necessitate that people will have different working hours or will be tasked with new responsibilities, business owners need to appreciate how that will impact their lives as individuals.
A “my way or the high way” approach is not going to win anyone over. Rather, an empathetic approach should be adopted, and an atmosphere of compromise encouraged.
If employees appreciate that their boss is putting him or herself in their shoes, they will be far more open to change.
Everyone is affected by changes in the workplace. Some will adapt quicker than others, but a situation should never arise where some people feel like they are being left behind.
Employees should be encouraged to talk to one another about what is happening, and help each other wherever necessary. There is safety in numbers, and an employer should be aware of that.
This article is brought to you by Kwelanga Training which offers leadership courses.