In every organization, there comes a time when particular changes need to be made. Whether it's a change in location, organizational structure, or management style, changes can be hard for each individual. On the other hand, changes may be what your employees need: they can contribute to their success and the success of the organization.
Consequently, the first thing you need to acknowledge is that change, whether good or bad, is stressful. So, even if you are thinking about implementing particular changes in your work structure, it may be a good idea to give out thoughtful corporate gifts or to host an appreciation dinner to show your employees that you care about their well-being, that you are preparing to implement some new, larger strategies for success, and that you are helping them prepare mentally for the changes you want to implement.
After all, even in times of change, as a leader, you still hold the responsibility to make sure that your employees stay motivated and continue to be engaged in their work. You can do that by using the following tips.
Develop Strong Leaders Within Your Team
Arguably the most important thing you should do in times of change is to ensure that you have strong leaders in place within your workforce. In such times, you can't expect everyone else to follow someone who isn't willing or able to lead themselves through something new even for them. Getting there may require some time and training to develop leadership traits such as taking online leadership courses or shadowing if they're not experienced enough.
If you need to train an employee for their new leadership role, make sure that they understand how important it is to reach out to their team members and communicate effectively with them throughout their project. This includes providing a clear and concise creative brief to ensure everyone is aligned on the project goals and objectives.
A creative brief should outline the project scope, target audience, messaging, and any specific requirements or constraints. By providing a well-crafted creative brief, a leader can empower their team members to deliver the best possible results and ensure that the project stays on track.
They must be active in listening and responding to all of their team members' concerns and questions, especially when it comes to changes affecting the whole company. They should also be able to delegate tasks appropriately based on each person's strengths.
This will help your employees feel like they're being listened to and understood without creating competition between co-workers who may have different skill sets and could potentially work better together than separately.
Openly Communicate Your Plans
This may seem obvious, but if you want to be successful at engaging your employees in times of change, it's best to communicate your plans as early as possible. Let's say that you're planning to move some people over to a new project. If you tell them after the plans are already set in stone, they might feel like they don't have any say in the matter; by then, their options will be limited.
Letting them know what's in store before it happens gives them time to come up with questions or concerns and voice them in a productive way rather than just stewing on their own about what you're about to do. Even if there isn't going to be any time for discussion before things get underway, let people know that there will be an opportunity for feedback and answers once the change has been made. That way, people won't feel like their questions are falling on deaf ears or making waves for no reason.
Of course, If you’re managing a fully remote team, things may seem a little trickier, but nowadays, this simply isn’t the case. It’s relatively easy to host a live session via video, or alternatively, you could create a corporate video explaining exactly what changes will be taking place and distribute it via email.
Give People Clarity And Tools To Succeed
When people are forced to change in the workplace, it can be hard for them to adjust. It's a stressful time because you're either leaving something behind or moving towards something new. The last thing you want is to make people feel anxious with an unclear direction. To that end, provide clear instructions on what is expected of them and when they should expect it.
Help them adapt to these new expectations and challenge themselves to do their best. And give them the tools they need to succeed—training, supportive supervisors, and adequate resources—so they can meet your expectations and be rewarded for their hard work with a promotion or a raise. Instead of putting pressure on people during times of change, help boost their self-confidence by giving them all the support they need to succeed.
Prioritizing self-care is always a vital step, no matter the type of business. This can include sleep, food, exercise, and hobbies. It's important to keep your health in check to be able to do your job well. This also means taking time for yourself; if you're frazzled and stressed because you've been working too much or not prioritizing your own needs, you're more likely to take that stress out on others around you.
If you're feeling overwhelmed or upset about something out of your control, try setting boundaries for yourself and others. If there's something that's causing stress that can't be easily resolved right away, try saying to yourself: "I'm going to let this go until tomorrow." Setting aside time to deal with issues when they arise can help them feel less stressed in the long run.
Engaging your employees through any type of change requires substantial effort from you as a leader. The time and attention you give to your people will be reflected in how well they respond to the changes taking place in your organization.