Not much is certain for businesses at the moment, but the one thing that is, is that change is here. We’ve all heard and read about the numerous ways in which businesses have pivoted in the face of this pandemic, but how businesses manage that change and assist their employees through it will be imperative to their success.
Employees going through downsizing, seeing their peers being stood down, and huge changes to the structures and even functions of organisations isn’t the norm, which is why it is vital your employees feel, and are supported during this time.
Here are my top ways to support your employees through change.
It is important that everyone in the organisation is on the same page with what is happening, and for this to happen senior leaders must all be on the same page and deliver a consistent message from the top down. Being transparent with what is happening enables you to stop any misinformation and minimise worry and confusion and allows everyone’s work to ladder up to new goals.
Consult your frontline team(s)
Your frontline teams are dealing with your customers, and chances are, they have received feedback, customer’s concerns, and have experienced many procedural changes. They themselves might be experiencing frustrations and know what is needed to be put in place to assist. Getting their feedback will aid smooth transitions and demonstrate that their input is valued.
Demonstrate genuine empathy and openness
In times of stress employees will be looking for guidance from their leadership team and direct reports. Showing a genuine understanding of your employees’ situation outside of work and offering solutions shows genuine empathy for your employees and will help ease them through this period. Open communication and encouraging their input on decisions that impact them personally, or the business unit they are in will help employees feel valued and listened to.
Where possible, prepare teams
With such frequent government announcements at this time in regards to business stimulus packages, and employees subsidies, it’s difficult to prepare for all situations. There’s no rulebook here to show us the best way forward, but preparing individual employees for a potential business change will allow them to transition into a new role, or new duties. This is also where the communication is key, getting employees onboard and letting them know you are doing everything to minimise disruption and that everyone is in the same boat will put them at ease.
Make an example out of fast adopters
Every employee will handle organisational change differently. Some will thrive, taking on new duties as an opportunity to grow in the business and expand their skills, whilst others may not embrace it which can affect productivity and morale. In any team check-ins, reward or call out the employees that have stepped up with a positive attitude and are willing to get in the trenches.
There aren’t many businesses in Australia that aren’t experiencing some form of change at the moment. It’s here, and the more we can support our employees through it, the faster they will accept it and the better morale and productivity will be.
Elliot Hayes is the co-founder and Managing Director of Smart Energy.