“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.” David Bowie knew it, we know it, and you know it. Change is hard. Why do you think so many songs exist to immortalize it? But the fact of the matter is, in the workplace, organizational change is inevitable, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. Change means progress, new technology, business growth, and increased productivity. But if poorly managed, change can only mean one thing…employee burnout.
Follow these six change management tips to ensure smooth and successful transitions within your organization and avoid organizational burnout:
1. Be Transparent
Nothing is more frustrating to employees than a manager implementing major changes that directly affect them without so much as giving them an explanation. So when you do find that change is necessary, be open with your employees about those changes. Chances are you’re making them for the benefit of everyone involved, so why keep your team in the dark? Before implementing a major change, hold a meeting to explain exactly what that change will look like, how and when it will take place, and the benefits everyone should expect. Open communication will ensure that your employees feel like valued members of the organization. And on that note…
Listen. Listen. Once more for the folks in the back… Listen! You hired each and every one of your employees because they are smart, capable, and bring unique skills and perspectives to the table. So, reap the benefits of your impeccable hiring skills. Just as you should hold a meeting prior to implementing change, continue to hold regular meetings to follow up, so your employees have a better understanding of the progress that is happening. Encourage employees to share their frustrations and concerns, listen to and evaluate those concerns, and find solutions.
3. Encourage Mental Health Days and Vacation
Any major change in the workplace can mean significant stress for your employees (which often leads to poor performance and employee burnout). In fact, stress over business changes has been found to lower the average employee’s performance by 5% Having a manager who understands the burden change places on their employees and who encourages them to cope with that stress in healthy ways can not only prevent employee burnout but can also promote company loyalty and a sense of comradery during transitional periods.
Encourage your employees to take advantage of their vacation and mental health days. Although it can sometimes be hard to step away from your work, set an example by doing the same. You will be amazed by the positive results that a clear mind can bring to the workplace.
4. Reward Champions of Change
Adapting to change isn’t easy. But it’s made a little bit easier by champions of change, encouragers and leaders, within the team who step up to the plate when the going gets tough. Have you noticed certain employees going above and beyond to help others adjust to a new transition, share their knowledge, and support their teammates? Publicly reward those employees with work-from-home Wednesdays, lunch with the C-Suite, kudos at your all-hands, or however, you see fit. The reward is not what matters; expressing genuine gratitude to your employees is.
5. Delegate Tasks
In the midst of a major workplace change, the need for new roles to ensure a smooth transition will likely emerge. You don’t have to face that beast of burden alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. Evenly distribute the delegations of tasks associated with change among your colleagues, and publicly announce these new roles. This will give everyone a personal investment in ensuring the success of the change and create a shared sense of having some skin in the game.
6. Publically Post Metrics and Goals
Change in the workplace is hard enough without having to waste countless precious hours tracking down information, instructions, and resources necessary to successfully adjust. Some technologies, such as knowledge sharing platforms, can even enable your organization’s leaders to post directions, processes, and helpful resources to ease into new transitions, conduct surveys, ask and answer questions, and easily identify and reward champions of change. When your goals are easy to find and centralized, your team doesn’t have to waste time searching for important documents.
As your organization evolves, the technology and processes your organization relies on evolve with it. It’s easy for leaders to get so caught up in the excitement of this evolution that they forget to bring everyone on board with them. So don’t forget to pause, communicate, and effectively manage change within your organization. Your employees and your business will thank you.