It's a simple fact of human nature that people are freaked out by change. It doesn't matter if the change is for the better or for the worse—in most circumstances, most people prefer to retain the status quo rather than try something new. Changes, however, are a natural part of a business’s lifecycle, and big changes can often lead to disgruntled staff members. While you may not be able to impact your staff’s first reaction, you can control how you prepare them for the transition. Here are 5 ways to help your employees cope with a major change.
1. Explain the Why, When, and How
When introducing a change, give as much detail as possible about why the change is happening, when the change will go into effect, and what the process will look like. Eliminating as many unknowns as you can will give people fewer details to worry about.
2. Focus on the Positive
Most changes have both a positive and a negative side, but when presenting to your staff, focus as much as you can on the positive. If you as their leader remain upbeat and optimistic, your employees are more likely to take a similar attitude.
3. Listen Openly to Concerns
Even after a clear rundown of what’s happening and why, your staff may raise concerns. Listen to them with an open ear and provide any additional information and reassurance your staff needs to accept the coming change.
4. Address Issues within Your Control
If there are factors causing concern among your staff that you can control, do what you can to address them. Even if you can’t fix everything, showing that you’ve been listening to your employees’ concerns and taking measures because of them will illustrate your commitment to the team.
5. Provide Adequate Training and Support
If your business change involves new processes or procedures, make sure to provide ample training and support to set your staff up for success.
The Bottom Line
You can’t change human nature, but you can make it easier for your staff to move from fear to acceptance during periods of transition by providing clear information, listening to concerns, making adjustments to address those concerns, and creating a solid training plan for new processes.