When your organisation goes through a change that involves transitioning staff, it can cause significant upheaval in the lives of your employees.
While it can be easy to focus your attention on the needs of staff leaving your organisation, one of your most important tasks going forward is to re-engage the survivors of change. After all, these are the employees who will now be expected to turn your company around and make it greater than ever.
If this is the first large-scale change your organisation has experienced and it was well handled, the process of re-engaging your surviving employees will be easier. But if you are several changes down the road and you’ve only travelled a short distance, you can have your work cut out for you.
So where do you start when confidence is shaken, trust is broken, and employees are experiencing a range of emotions? Here are five tips to help you re-engage the survivors of change.
- Communicate change positively
The truth is this won’t be the last change your company experiences. Change is constant, a necessary part of growth and innovation and the key to surviving and thriving in business. By communicating change positively, clearly explaining the opportunities and benefits without understating the challenges and risks, you can gain and retain critical trust and engagement during a tumultuous time in your business.
Include your employees in the change process. Let them contribute to your new direction and allow them to help carve out your new vision and mission. By doing so, your employees are more likely to understand it, believe in it and stay committed to it.
- Build trust
When trust is broken between a company and its employees it can stay broken for a long time, affecting productivity, performance and profitability within your organisation, and your ability to attract good talent outside of your organisation.
While change can often be one of the primary reasons trust in your employment brand breaks down, change can also provide you with the unique opportunity to build confidence in your organisation.
Leaders win trust and credibility with employees by being open and honest about change occurring. Communicate regularly with your employees before, during and after the change has happened and be readily available to walk and talk through issues, concerns and challenges with them.
- Be sensitive to insecurities
Keep in mind that survivors of change can go through a wide range of emotions from depression and anxiety to anger, mistrust and guilt. Every move and meeting management make will be watched and evaluated by your staff.
It is important to be sensitive to these insecurities, and mindful of how your words and actions will be interpreted. During periods of change and afterwards, leaders need to lead by example, be confident, communicative, supportive, encouraging and open.
- Recognise contribution
During periods of change roles and responsibilities can change and insecurities and stress can be heightened. Faced with new challenges and emotional turmoil as they head into uncharted waters, your staff will require greater support and even a different style of leadership than they did before the change.
Why? Survivors of change are not only responsible for business-as-usual, but they are also charged with the role of leading and contributing to your companies new direction and culture which is a big ask in a period of uncertainty.
Post change is ‘make or break’ time in your organisation. You need set the right foundations, develop the right culture and get on with business-as-usual quickly and effectively to win back the confidence of customers and stakeholders. But to do this, you need the support of your employees.
For your employees to do their best work, they need to feel secure, valued and respected. While this can be difficult to do during periods of change, praising their efforts and recognising their contribution is a great place to start.
- Provide ongoing career guidance
When your employees are worrying about their future, they aren’t thinking about what is best for your company. In-house career support or ‘Career Centres’ not only help the staff transitioning out of your company, but also those who remain, helping them understand the new direction, identify the benefits of staying with your organisation, uncover opportunities for advancement and transition into new roles.
Career support can also assist managers who need to lead and guide staff through change, arming them with the information they need to reassure their people, explain the new direction, encourage buy-in and discuss each individual’s role and career path.
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.