Change — even if it should bring good things — makes even the most confident of people nervous. It’s no different at a business. If you have new policies to implement or you’re restructuring the business or even if you’re moving locations, you can’t simply send out a memo and hope everyone jumps on board. Ease your employees’ nervousness about a change at your company by taking a few simple steps to make the change more manageable for everyone.
Hire a Professional Speaker
A professional speaker will guide you and your employees through any kind of change your business might be facing, so schedule one before or shortly after you announce the impending change. Finding an expert with a presentation related to the change facing your company is easier than you might think.
For example, speakers can walk your business through the effects of downsizing or expanding to new locations. Speakers can tell your employees how to effectively pack and plan their move to a new office or how to change how they approach certain tasks in the company, such as marketing, business intelligence, innovation, etc. Speakers give structured presentations and also offer leadership when it comes to interactive panels and discussions on the issues important to your company.
Break the Change Down
Break the change into small, achievable tasks and employees will not be overwhelmed by a big change. If employees can focus on daily or weekly assignments instead of the overall picture, they’re going to concentrate better on making change a reality. For example, if your office is moving and employees are worried about the move’s effect on everything else they have to accomplish, give each department head a day-by-day set of tasks related to the move, including packing up employees’ desks, getting rid of unnecessary items and alerting clients about dates when the company might prove unavailable. When deciding how to break down the change, consider these tricks:
· Bring in less work the closer you get to the change so employees will be able to complete their daily tasks and have more time to devote to the change
· Gradually build up to devoting more time to the task so employees become accustomed to performing it
· Make sure everyone has the tools he or she needs to complete his or her tasks; get boxes for people packing up, new software ready to go for people starting to use it, etc.
Define Roles in the Change
As part of breaking the change down to manageable tasks, clearly define what everyone’s role in the change will be. For instance, say your company has decided to scrap how you’re currently collecting business intelligence and try an entirely new method of sales data and feedback collection. Tell the IT department they’re in charge of installing the new software. Instruct the marketing department they’re in charge of using social media more effectively for data collection. Every employee or every department has a role to play. If you can tell them to focus on their responsibilities and trust their colleagues to complete their roles, they may stop worrying about the overall change and play their parts in making the transition smoother.
Hold Regular Meetings
Change shouldn’t be a one-time thing. There’s a reason why so many people fear change — it’s increased work, and routines are comfortable. In addition to meeting with employees or department heads at the beginning of the change, hold a follow-up meeting to get feedback and continue with regular meetings as everyone adjusts. You should be aware of any obstacles and come up with strategies for overcoming hiccups in the plan. Meetings are ideal times for employees to:
· Report how they’ve been able to handle the additional tasks
· Discuss strategies for coping with the change
· Give any suggestions
· Become accustomed to the change
According to Forbes, which points to a 2009 report on the growth of businesses, as many as 41.2 percent of businesses reach a point where they just stall, largely because they’re afraid to take risks, and they’re afraid of change. You may be able to coast a few years or even decades without changing, but you’re wasting your company’s true potential. Don’t be afraid of change. Take smart risks and guide your employees toward effective business change, and you may find your company can adapt more quickly than most.
About the Author: Elizabeth Gorney is the CEO of a business that relies on professional speakers to coach her employees through changes in business policies. She suggests you find leadership speakers at Leading Authorities.