Managing change is never an easy thing. Whether employees have been in the industry for years or are just starting out, change can be a bad thing. Most employees see change as a giant wall that they must overcome, and it’s usually not very pleasant. There are a number of different reasons why people feel uneasy about a change, and you can impact how your team receives the news and adopts the new changes. If done correctly, this will lead to a smoother transition with fewer headaches and can even get employees excited about what is to come.
The following 4 tips will make sure that you can not only implement the change faster, but manage how people work with the changes to push the company forward in the future.
One of the easiest things that you can do is often the most overlooked. Take the time to talk with your team members, as a group as well as a whole, and let them understand what changes are coming. Give them time to prepare themselves and start gearing up for what’s going to be different. Surprising someone with big news can put them in a panic, and that can prevent them from performing even the most simple tasks. In the worst case, they can even just give up and stop working altogether. By talking to everyone and letting them know why the changes are occurring, as well as how it impacts them personally, you’ll have more people that are open and receptive to the idea.
When the change involves implementing a new technology, for example, it is important to clearly communicate the benefits. In this instance, Gartner notes that change can be inhibited when employees “resist the new system by focusing on cutover difficulties rather than embracing the new processes.” Ensure employees see the value of these changes and they will join you in the process.
#2- Have a Timeline
Just like communicating with people will help them understand what’s to come, having a timeline (and sticking to it) ensures that everyone knows exactly when things will start changing. There’s no worry about how much time there is left to accomplish a task, and teams can ease into the transitional period to handle things one at a time instead of all at once. People like to feel like they are in control of things, and having a calendar that marks all of the important dates takes the anxiety away from the transition and lets people prepare on their own time. Just be sure to keep to the schedule so that you don’t confuse people from late goals as well.
#3- Lead by Example
If you were part of a team and you manager was telling you to adopt a new idea or software, but you never saw it in practice, would you do it? As a leader, you need to take the necessary steps to show everyone that you are not only excited about the changes, but have mastered them and can provide results. Show people how the change helps them do their jobs and why they should take advantage of it as well. Don’t just expect people to adopt something because they have to; give them the right reasons to give the new changes a try.
#4- Provide Ample Training
Lastly, never forget how important it is to train people properly. No matter how aware of the changes people are, they won’t be able to do anything if they don’t have the right knowledge. Change can be a scary thing, and knowledge is the most powerful weapon. Take the time to train your teams and build confidence in them about what they are doing.
Gartner cites Herman Ebbinghaus as it affirms the importance of training follow-up. “When people are exposed to an idea one time, after 30 days they retain only about about 20% of what they learned.” One of the most effective tools for training is WalkMe, which is a digital guidance tool. As the name suggests, WalkMe provides users with step-by-step instructions as to what they are doing and why it’s important. This can be done while they are working, and they can see real results for their needs.
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.