Change is not always easy.
In fact, in his book Leading Change, management expert John Knotter reported that an astounding 70% of change initiatives in business fail.
Many of these failures can be accounted for by the fact that change initiatives often result in decreased productivity, as employees must try to adapt to change while still performing all of their regular duties. A successful change initiative must find a way to boost employee and team productivity during the change process.
Gartner Analysts speak about change coming from the top: “to make culture change stick leaders and managers must model the behavior they want front line employees to mirror. This means that in order to establish the knowledge give-and-take of “I need to know something, can you help me out?” leaders must open themselves up to ask for input of issues they face. The issues can range from corporate dilemmas to personal effectiveness.”
Here are five tips to boost productivity during a change initiative.
1. Tackle Change as a Team
Change can be daunting to face alone. Overcoming the initial apprehension that comes with any change can really put a damper on productivity. That is why it is so important to approach change as a team. By working together, employees can use their shared knowledge pool to tackle new and challenging issues. The team environment also eliminates a lot of stress associated with change, allowing employees to approach change with a positive attitude. As a manager, this positive attitude and spirit of teamwork need to start with you. Approach change with excitement and your employees will follow suit.
2. Praise Employees for Their Hard Work
Few things have a worse effect on an employee’s psyche than not feeling appreciated, especially when change is involved. If you see an employee who is adapting well to changes and maintaining a high level of productivity, be sure to praise him or her. Even small accomplishment can deserve praise during a change initiative. A study by Make Their Day and Badgeville found that 88% of employees found praise from their manager to be very or extremely motivating. What may seem like a simple gesture can make a huge difference when it comes to boosting productivity.
3. Reward Employee Productivity with Economic Incentives
As the above study shows, sometimes simple encouragement is enough to keep workers productive, but economic incentives can still have a meaningful impact on increasing productivity. Offering a monetary reward for reaching certain key objectives demonstrates to employees that the change initiative is important to your business and that you recognize your employees for their hard work. This combination of factors is a great way to boost productivity.
4. Offer Regular Feedback During Change Initiatives
Feedback is a great way to keep employee productivity on track during a change initiative. Not only does it offer another chance to praise employees who are meeting expectations and offer help to those who need it, but feedback allows employees to understand change in tangible and measurable ways. Part of the challenge of change is adapting to a new system and figuring how best to work. Regular feedback guides employees to the path of greater productivity by offering confirmation and correctives where they are needed.
5. Take the Time to Explain the Change
One of the most disruptive elements of change is the uncertainty it brings. The more information your employees have about upcoming change, the more easily they will be able to adapt and get back to working at full capacity. It also shows employees that you care enough to communicate instead of just ordering from above, another sure-fire way to boost productivity. It`s important to explain why these changes are being made and how they will affect your employees on a day-to-day basis to achieve the maximum effect.
Gartner Analysts continue: “To begin to change culture, pick a change leadership will work on and tell employees what that is. Take action. Expect a few stumbles along the way, but don’t let that discourage you. Then make sure to advertise the outcomes the changes produced and what yet needs to be done to get even better.”
To boost productivity during a change initiative, it`s important for employees and team members to really believe in the change. Without their belief, productivity will fall and the change will not be realized. By working as a team to take the fear out of change, providing feedback and praise along with incentives and giving employees the information they need, you can boost overall productivity and help to ensure the success of your change initiative.