Change is constant and often necessary when it comes to allowing a business to grow and succeed. Rough management transitions can lead to severe losses in human capital, plus huge reputation hits. And the Harvard Business Review says one communication practice makes it more difficult to transition smoothly and retain employees.
According to research, if your employees are kept in the dark during the transformation, your transition is more likely to fail than if they feel up to speed on the changes being made. When employees don’t understand the cause of management changes, they are often less willing or able to effectively assist with and adapt to the changes within company. The key to getting the most out of shake ups is to ensure that all team members have the knowledge they need to make transitions as seamless and successful as possible.
When communicating information regarding change, what you say matters less than how you say it.
No one wants to feel blindsided, so giving employees a comprehensive account of exactly what is changing, as well as a clear timeline of when these changes will be implemented, is important. The most critical component to include in your explanation is the ‘why.’ Constructing a narrative that describes not only the changes being implemented but how said changes will better the organization in the future is a crucial element to getting employees fully on board. When they understand the vision for the future, they are more likely to be inspired to do their best to help achieve that outcome.
Another way to help get employees on board with the switch ups is to ensure that they feel involved in the changes that are happening.
This will make them feel like they have a hand in shaping the future of the company, improving retention rates. To facilitate this, involve employees in the alterations by requesting feedback so that they truly feel they are engaged in the process. To cultivate further involvement, recognize those who go above and beyond to embrace the new policies.
When discussing changes with employees, don’t forget to articulate what the employees themselves have to gain from the changes.
Will they have more opportunities for growth or are they going to receive more support? Will they be able to new leaders be in a position to provide more mentorship or will they have access to an additional facility? Highlighting the positives on both a company and personal level helps motivate employees to invest in making the restructuring as simple as possible.
Empowering new leaders to head the change is another vital component of making the transition as smooth as possible. Team leaders should exhibit confidence about the changes because they will set the example for members of their team. Part of making sure that managers are able to exude that confidence is ensuring that they have all resources and information necessary to answer any questions that may come their way. Should employees resist the new changes, leaders must be equipped to address these challenges by receiving instruction on how best to take action.
Ultimately, keeping the lines of communication open throughout the process should be a top priority as changes progress. Keep your message consistent, and clear, and be sure to give employees clear (and honest) "whys" behind your decisions. Science says this will help you out — big time.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets anthology.