4 Strategies to Help Employees Accept Change
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Every small business must deal with some type of change somewhere along the way. If your business is vibrant and growing, things will have to change somewhere to accommodate the growth, additional employees, faster processes, satellite offices, different procedures, and the like. Image of article-2 on virtual assistantUnfortunately, employees can react negatively to change. It can create disruption in their daily routines, and cause them to worry about their job and the future of their employer. Additionally, many times the rumor mill gets going, which can be dangerous to moral. How does a business owner help their employees, and company, through a period of change?

There are many theories regarding change management. They range from just letting the employees deal with it, to leaking just a little information to overburdening them with too much detail. Somewhere in the middle is the answer. Here are four important things to keep in mind when you are making changes to your business model. These can help ease the way for employees, make the change go smoother, and contribute to the success of the changes.

  1. Talk, talk, then talk some more. The best way to help employees understand and deal with a change is to explain to them what is going on. There is nothing worse than being in the dark wondering what is happening. Explain to them why the change is occurring. Understanding the reasons will help alleviate some stress. Most employees think change is about getting rid of costs, and they consider themselves a cost. Make sure they are aware of the timetable behind the changes. Even if it is a flexible timetable, let them know when they can expect to see differences in the daily patterns. Also, be sure you impress upon them the positive sides of the change. This can be a time of opportunity and growth for them and can thus increase their value to the company. You don’t need to give them the details of everything that went into making the decision, but they need to know enough to feel comfortable with the coming changes.
  2. Make time to listen to their concerns. When employees don’t think they are being heard, they get the impression you don’t care about their opinions or views. You never know, they may have some very insightful information regarding the change. Remember, no one knows your systems better than the employees who live it daily. Listen to their opinions regarding what you are proposing to change. You may not reconsider but hearing their view may reinforce that you are making the right decision.
  3. Have a plan. Once you decide on the changes that will be made, have a plan to implement it. Write it down, then share it. Create some sort of milestone tracking that all employees can participate in. This could be a chart in the employee break room or in the lobby. It could be a list of tasks that get checked off as you progress or a small employee party given after each accomplishment. Whatever your plan, make it known and have the employees participate.
  4. Nothing is written in stone. Be a little flexible. No matter how well you plan, something is sure to go awry along the way. Something won’t work as you thought, a delivery may be delayed, or a new hire may decide to go elsewhere. Whatever the set back is, work around it. Let everyone know it is okay and you are still committed to the change but the plan has shifted a little. Make a commitment to keep moving. The worst thing you can do is let the change die in the implementation stage. If you completely thought out the change, planned appropriately, and communicated, then small shifts in implementation will not be a big deal.

Try these four strategies next time your business is facing a change and see if the implementation goes smoother.

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