Engage & communicate with your staff during change

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Quick tips on how to help your business through change…

Last updated: 25 August 2016man giving a presentation

As a business owner, you know that change is a normal and essential part of running a business. Your staff however, may not be as accepting of the changes as you are.

The good news is, if you communicate with your employees openly, honestly and early, you can help create a positive environment and develop a team that thrives on change!

Before you find out about how to engage and communicate with your staff, check out part one How to deal with change in your business or industry.

Why does change happen in a business?

There are many reasons why change happens in a business.

Here are just a few examples:

  • internal business processes might need to change due to new laws
  • one business merges with another
  • management team is changing due to staff turnover
  • business structure is changing from a partnership to a company
  • the business is expanding and needs to take on new employees
  • the business is moving to a new location.

Communicate with staff early and engage with them through the change process 

Strong, effective, clear communication from supervisors or management can help people understand and embrace the change.

Here are some tips for communicating with employees in times of change:

  • Make employees aware of change as early as possible. Ensure they hear about the change from the leaders, not other staff members.
  • Clearly explain the reasons for the change, the process the business will go through and what the end goal is.
  • Answer questions from staff where possible. Your staff will need time to process the details and impact of the change, and address their own concerns and fears. Be aware that during the change period there may be a drop in productivity.
  • Honesty goes a long way – avoid secrets and surprises.
  • Involve your staff in the planning and design of the change. Set up a forum and note all suggestions and concerns that relate to the change process.
  • Break things down into small, actionable steps and clear instructions to help your staff become familiar with any new processes and elements that affect their role. This can help to instil confidence and security.
  • Communicate with your staff often and across different channels to cater to a range of learning styles, for example – one-on-one meetings, emails, feedback sessions or a morning tea.
  • Get your supervisors and managers involved early on, as they can help address staff concerns, and work with people who aren’t adapting as well.
  • Support your staff – you might schedule one-on-one meetings with members of your management team or make counselling available if the change is substantial.

Remember, not everyone adjusts to change at the same pace, or even in the same way, so it’s important to communicate, support ,be patient and offer assistance to your staff where it’s needed!

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