Just as coaches prepare game strategies while players chug Gatorade, so too must managers and employees both prepare for organizational change.
Front-line employees are important – perhaps, the most important – part of the organizational change your company is about to go through. Not only are they many in number, but they are responsible for every area of the organization: sales, accounting, marketing, IT, HR, and numerous others.
While front-line employees may not be strategizing like their managers, they must take time to prepare for the curveball headed their way. Proper mindset and thorough reflection are keys to surviving during what is sure to be a trying time. Use these six strategies to prime your employees for organizational change.
It is extremely important to understand the context behind the change. Knowing the “why” will decrease anxiety about the decision from the get-go, and that sense of calm will trickle down through the rest of the change process. Try to answer the question, “What problem is solved by this change?”
What is being changed? Encourage them to carefully read through all communication about the new standards. When employees know the change inside and out, they will feel less rudderless.
There are likely one or two people who are responsible for sharing information about the organizational change. Identify them, and ensure that they are introduced to every employee. This will make communication easier (and faster!) when questions arise.
Encourage your employees to write down every possible impact this change could have. While some may seem a bit outlandish, it is better to be ready than to let those no-longer-outlandish things take them by surprise. Managers have a great opportunity to help employees think through all the ways the coming change can affect them.
Once you and the employee have brainstormed, you can accurately identify next steps. Change can and should cause employees to take action, and good managers will help them identify what those actions are. Does an employee need to change the orientation of the fax machine? Or find another job?
Make sure employees understand that all organizations are dynamic, and that just because a change is announced doesn’t mean it won’t be tweaked, overhauled, or canceled. Be prepared to go with the flow of the organization, and never hesitate to refer to previous strategies.
Managing organizational change isn't a one-time initiative, but rather a constant effort to mitigate damage and help employees feel secure. Change is inevitable, but your organization can manage it successfully. Download these essential change management templates and communication tools to help navigate your next wave of changes.