Change in the workplace is inevitable. It is the key to building a more productive, profitable, higher performing organisation, and it is also the key to staying competitive and meeting the needs of your customers.

But despite being needed for business growth and survival, change still has a bad reputation in the workplace sprouting fear, uncertainty and panic throughout an organisation. But just because change is inevitable, it doesn’t mean conflict and confusion need to be.

Change can be an incredibility positive experience – it all comes down to how you communicate and manage it. Not sure where to start? Here are five tips to help you communicate change effectively and unite your team in the process.

Share information as soon as possible

No word can cause widespread workplace panic like “change”, particularly when it is leaked through your organisation and not communicated directly by management.

When a change has been decided on, regardless of how small or insignificant you think it may seem, it is important to inform your team as soon as possible. Fear will only grow if your team feels like you aren’t honest or upfront with them.

Where possible communicate face-to-face

While there are obvious benefits to communicating a change in writing, a lot can get lost in translation. Your team won’t see your body language, hear your tone or feel the emotion in your voice. This often creates confusion and can be seen as cold, calculating and impersonal.

Communicating change face-to-face ensures you minimise confusion, address concerns or questions quickly and inspire confidence through your verbal and non-verbal cues.

Be clear and specific about the change

Keep in mind that a thousand questions will be going through the minds of your team when a change is announced. The first of many being “will I lose my job, title or benefits?”

Fear of the unknown and a loss in security can cause significant resistance to change, that is why you need to be clear and specific, explaining the what, why, when and how of the change you will be implementing.

Where possible communicate the personal benefits of the change to each of your team members in addition to the organisational benefits. Will it…

  • Give them greater support or autonomy?
  • Simplify processes or paperwork?
  • Make their role easier?
  • Give them more job security?
  • Provide an opportunity for advancement?
  • Allow them to do more of the tasks they love?
  • Generate a bigger budget, better benefits or greater resources?

Then, once they understand what’s in it for them, create accountability by letting them know what they will need to do to make it happen.

Make change a two-way conversation

Once you have communicated the change allow your team to ask questions, give feedback and share concerns.

Being on the frontline your team will have valuable insights and valid fears that may not have been addressed. Allow them to be part of the problem-solving process and to take ownership of the solutions.

You may also like to look at what incentives you can offer the employee or department with the best idea or solution, or who is the fastest or most effective in implementing the change.

Demonstrate your commitment to the change

Leading by example is one of the fastest ways to get your employees to buy-in to change.  Your team will be far more likely to engage if they see management sacrificing for the greater good and actively supporting the decision.

Not only will you boost morale and gain more respect from your team, but you will also communicate through your actions that everyone is going through the change together.

Need help communicating change in your organisation? At Turning Point Partners we are in the business of change. Whether you need to restructure, prepare for acquisition or merger, or simply become more innovative, agile and efficient, Turning Point Partners can work with you to create lasting positive change and a more profitable, measurably higher performing organisation. Give us a call today on 1300 278 345.