In business, change is sometimes necessary. How you manage that change is crucial to your success. If not managed properly, you may lose focus, productivity and more importantly, employees. Change is understandably very project management-focused and tactical, but throughout this process, many organizations forget to adress the “people aspect” of this change. How does this affect your employees? How can you ensure you are taking the necessary steps to maintain high levels of engagement? Here are a few tips:
Prepare for the change: Prepare a communication plan and roadmap. Ensure steps are taken at appropriate times (for example: don’t plan a roll-out around a holiday/short week – understand, your employees may be a little more distracted). Prepare your management team! Make sure all managers are prepared to coach employees through the changes and discuss how it will impact them.
Communicate: Communicate the change as soon as possible. I understand there is a need to keep things confidential for some time, but as soon as you can notify employees, you should do so. Give employees time to “soak it all in” and think about the ways it will impact them. The more time they have to take it in, the higher the chances that you will have their buy in and engagement.
Lead by example: Make sure you stay involved. A big mistake many leaders make is kicking off the project, delegating as much as possible and just stepping away from it to work on other initiatives. This is a sure way to lose engagement. Stay with this project as much as you can to show your commitment. If you cannot do this, build a strong team to lead this change, one with superior leaderships skills and credibility.
Set realistic goals/timelines: Keep them realistic and attainable. If not, employees will lose interest quickly. Discuss these goals and timelines and get their input throughout the process.
Celebrate small wins as a team: There is a direct correlation between celebrating success and engagement/productivity. Make sure you recognize the work being put in by all to keep engagement high.
Make sure all understand this is a team effort and feel included in all aspects of the change process. This will keep all members engaged, increase productivity, create a sense of urgency and surely put you on the path to a successful transition. Keep in mind that a successful change will only occur when you have a strong team of energetic, driven and engaged members! Always keep your focus on the employees for true success.