Change is hard on everyone. Let’s face it: We all get into a routine, and we may complain about it from time to time, but we generally feel more comfortable there. But routine isn’t good for your business. You need to regularly change things up if you are going to continue moving forward and grow your sales and expand your business.
Yet you can’t expect change to come without a few bumps in the road. You certainly shouldn’t just spring change on your employees and hope for the best. You need to implement a change management process, and you need to take steps to make that process easier for your employees to adapt and to accept.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
1. Provide Plenty of Time to Implement Changes
Overnight changes can be chaotic. . It’s much better to introduce change slowly as part of an overarching change management process.
In your business, you need to give your employees ample time to know that change is coming, and then you need to give them plenty of time to adapt to it. Ideally, you should provide as much time as possible.
If you know that in a year you’ll be getting a new software system, let your employees know that it’s coming. There is comfort in knowledge and keeping your employees abreast of what is going on within the company, gives them a peace and eliminates anxiety about changes.
Work with the change agent to decide on an appropriate timeline for your employees, and then do everything you can to make that possible. In some cases, you may not get the timing you want, such as if you can only get the software at a certain date or if you have to make immediate changes to satisfy the market or new government regulations.
When the change is more expansive and will cause a major shift in the way you do things, you need to give even more time. The right change manager will help you understand all the issues at play to create the right timeline for success.
2. Help Employees Understand the Reasons for the Change
People resist change. They will automatically put up arguments for why it’s unnecessary.
Even if you introduce what you think is a good change – like free massages in the break room – someone will end up with a complaint – like that it takes up the best dining tables. To ensure that your changes will be successful, you need to help your employees understand why they are necessary.
Be specific when talking about the reasons for the change. Share stats when you can, such as how much you think your sales will increase with the new process or software, or market research that shows that more people respond to the new marketing strategy.
The more information your employees have, the more they will understand the need for the change and get behind it. Make sure a good information sharing plan is part of your change management process.
3. Show Employees the Change Will Benefits Them
People are fundamentally selfish. Even if you explain to them why the changes will be good for the company, they may still resist them.
You need to explain how the changes will benefit them, as well. They need to have a reason to care – and the best way to get people to care is to focus the conversation on them.
Will this new software make it easier for employees to do their jobs? Be specific. Tell them that it will integrate the customer data so they no longer have to pull up the separate program to find the information that they need. Tell them that it will cut down on the time they spend so that their jobs are easier.
Will this new equipment produce better results? Tell your employees that they’ll be able to create more professional products that they will secretly be thinking about adding to their resume or portfolio.
Think like your employees when you are thinking of the benefits. Your inclination is to think like a business leader, but even the most dedicated employees are not always motivated by the success of the business. You need to show them what’s in it for them.
4. Give Employees Plenty of Buy In
People always feel more committed to something when they are a part of it. Simply being told that change is happening is not likely to get employees on board with said change. You need to find ways to make your employees part of the process.
Ask them for their suggestions for what changes need to be made or how to properly implement those changes. If that’s not possible, invite them to ask as many questions as they like about the coming changes through a series of meetings, panel discussions, and workshops.
You can also give employees buy in by giving them something. One of the easiest ways to do this is to promote certain employees to train on the new software or equipment and then to train other employees. They can be the lead, which will give them improved status and maybe a bump in pay.
Or you can have fun with it and host contests around the changes. Give a prize to whoever comes up with the best name for a new product or whomever reaches goals fastest on the new system. Be creative and come up with a great prize to really get employees invested.
5. Provide as Much Information as Possible about the Changes
A lot of the fear of change comes from just not knowing. People don’t know how this new thing is going to work or how it is going to change their daily routine for better or for worse. By giving people as much information as possible, you help them to know what to expect and to embrace the change. They will feel more assured about what’s coming, and they’ll feel more empowered in their ability to adapt to it.
Think beyond sharing dates that the change will be implemented or what benefits it will bring. Share as many of the details as you can, including specs for new software, pricing and dimensions for a new product, bonuses for a new sales program, and so on.
Again, the more you can share, the more prepared your employees will feel and the less resistant they are likely to be to what you have planned. They’ll feel like active participants in the change management process.
Moving Forward Successfully
Planning will always help you whether the storms that you might face in your business, and it will always help you grow successfully. The same is true when you need to implement change. Using these tips will help you prepare your employees and get them to adapt to changes faster, and using a change management system like WalkMe will help you implement those changes smoothly.
WalkMe makes it easier for employees to adapt to your new software, and it provides ongoing, on-screen technical support. Any time they have questions, answers are available. Step-by-step guidance means time isn’t wasted on finding answers. Employees get the guidance they need in their moment of need, helping them move forward more quickly and feel more empowered.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.