In both our professional and personal lives, a certain amount of change is inevitable. These can range from the minor, such as a favorite television show recasting one of the characters, to the major, such as an undesired change in your relationship status. One of the key areas of change that can impact heavily on an individual’s life is the concept of change in the workplace, whether it’s from a corporate takeover or a seemingly straightforward rebranding. Let’s explore some of the key methods that will assist with dealing with change in the workplace.
How Severe Is The Change?
Change in the workplace leads to a sense of uncertainty. This sense of uncertainty can often be overcome in a fairly organic way; if the change is merely a modification to a business process, or perhaps a new software system, then the new system or method quickly becomes normality. It’s hardly something that will cause undue stress, although management should certainly take steps to ensure that all employees are familiar with what is expected of them in relation to the new processes.
Employees Will Feel The Fear
In some instances, the sense of uncertainty can become overwhelming and can impede a corporation’s operational capability when it’s a large-scale merger or takeover. There will undoubtedly be changes at all levels of operations, and this can lead employees to question the safety of their own employment. It’s important for management to handle the situation with as much transparency as is possible in a scenario such as this one. If there is to be restructuring that will lead to layoffs, then this decision needs to be made and executed as soon as possible. Resolve the matter in as straightforward a manner as is appropriate, and then a new normality will rise from the ashes, leading to employee peace of mind.
Negative Ways of Coping With Change
Management should be a little sceptical of employees who seem to warmly (and indeed, blindly) embrace large changes in a company. It’s perhaps possible that these employees are being enthusiastic about a change in policy, operations or ownership, simply because they believe it’s what their supervisors want to hear. This is unhelpful to the overall aims of any corporate change, and is on a par with avoidance coping, where an employee essentially tries to ignore the change and undertake their employment in the way they always have, which is often inappropriate.
Positive Ways of Coping With Change
Ideally, management will gently ease employees into any kind of change in the workplace, utilizing change management training that will allow employees to feel in control during the process of change. It goes without saying that it’s beneficial for management that their employees make a smooth transition during whatever change the company is going through. Management cannot dictate how an individual should feel in response to a change, but they can set the tone about what’s appropriate, essentially by being available to answer all enquiries, and to clearly outline what’s expected of employees. Unsurprisingly, any kind of change in a company generates a huge amount of paperwork when new guides and manuals are published.
Change can be a huge problem for many employees, and it’s hardly a stress free time for management either. But management needs to ensure that their employees feel like they’re part of the solution.
Kate Simmons is a business developer, management coach and freelance writer. She is mostly interested in topics related to leadership, management and business structures.