As a recruitment service based in Darlington, we help employees prepare for change as they move into exciting new job roles. Below, we’ve put together a handy guide on exactly how you can make sure that your workforce becomes more adaptive to dealing with transitions as smoothly as possible.
Change can be scary for all of us. We’re creatures of comfort but from time to time in life, change is also inevitable. What with a worldwide pandemic and the wide felt disruption to our daily lives, we’ve all been adapting to a new way of being. However, in the case of workforces, transitioning to new working systems has been a BIG change.
Without being able to go into work, many of us have been working from home. When news spread that we’d be setting up makeshifts offices at home, so did widespread joy. I mean, what’s better than being able to type away in your pjs all day, with your fluffy companion by your side? However, quickly this transition added stress and left a lot of people feeling lost.
Setting up a workforce to become more adaptive to change is important. Not many employers had time to do this when coronavirus prevented us from commuting to the office. Although change is difficult, you can make sure that your workforce is equipped to approach the fast-changing world in the right way. Here’s exactly how:
1. It’s All About A Positive Attitude
Yep, Share your positive mental attitude (PMA) with your workforce and they’ll likely spread it too. We’re not saying it’s possible to beam with joy every day, but generally being optimistic is going to help big time.
If there is a change taking place in your company, turn it into a positive. It’s always helpful to frame the transition and demonstrate how your workforce will benefit from something new. As a leader, you set the tone and others look up to you. Share a PMA and motivate your team to get excited about change or at least see the positives in the situation.
2. Be Available And Empathetic
Getting work done is everyone’s priority but it’s important to be human too. While some people love a good ol’ change, others find it anxiety-inducing. We’re not saying have your office door open all day long for your workforce to enter as they wish to vent. But you should answer any concerning questions and make it known you are available to talk.
By demonstrating empathy and understanding your employee’s thoughts and worries, you will be better equipped to help. All in all, you will have all the knowledge needed to ensure every member is prepared for the upcoming transition. And, your team will know that the support is available should they need it.
3. Recognise Everyone Will React Differently
Some of your workforce may be feeling excited at the prospect of change while others will be dreading it. Recognise that everybody will react differently. Try to accommodate your workforce with different types of support. Some people may want to email in questions and concerns, while others may prefer a team meeting for discussion.
Suggest various ways of talking about the change and be prepared to see mixed emotions. Crying, laughing, and the rest. It’s likely all on the cards if a big transition is to take place! Make sure to take time for yourself too. Absorbing the emotions of others can be tiring in itself.
4. Ensure Familiarity
In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have had no choice but to switch to online working. However, lots of employers have also ensured familiarity in their company in different ways. While tied to our homes, it’s still possible to check in over video calls (a blessing and a curse). Any small way to keep a sense of the old will likely help in the case of a transition.
Keep up with regular meetings. Set up after work socials. Make a Spotify playlist for your workforce to listen to at home. There are SO many ways to keep things as normal as they used to be. And, we all love a bit of familiarity, don’t we?
5. Don’t Leave It As A Surprise!
Surprises can be fun. Especially in the form of a workforce party – count us in! But nobody wants a big change surprise sprung upon them. Communicate way ahead (where possible) about the transition that will take place and then carry on communicating until it happens.
Keep your workforce in the know-how, so that they can prepare themselves. We advise giving at least a month’s notice and to be transparent about everything. This way, your team will understand what is coming up and be in a calmer headspace about it.
You may want to speak of the change that will take place, and follow up with some meetings about what this means. Delivering a big piece of news all at once won’t leave time for processing, which is important to everyone.
6. Go Slowly…
Ok. Where you can, go slow with change. We’re not suggesting you delay an important transition but the more time people have to reflect and prepare, the better. This also means moving at a slow pace with your expectations. While some transitions need to happen quickly, slowly, and surely wins the race!
The good news is that if you take your time, you can also make the idea of the change fun. This could include engaging training to look forward to, brainstorming new office decor ideas (pink walls anyone?), and a reward at the end of the transition.
Be realistic with your expectations, and your team will thank you. Don’t rush and remember that rushing things will only add to the stress.
7. Create Certainty And Help With Preparation
Try to prevent your workforce from freaking out by offering preparation help. You can create some sense of certainty by offering training if a new skill is required for example. This may seem obvious, but so many employers leave their team to their own devices and the end result is not always pretty.
Think ahead about how to prepare your team where needed. Get them the books they need and share useful YouTube videos. If you are feeling super generous, buy them a fancy lunch as a treat so they don’t have to think about what sandwich filling to choose.
Do whatever you can to help your team feel confident about the transition they will soon experience. And, alleviate stress at the same time for them too.
8. Equip Your Workforce Properly
We’re not suggesting you make any grand gestures to accommodate change, such as buying your team annual travel tickets. Though it is important to equip your employees with what they need to adapt to change taking place. If you are moving to remote working, don’t expect your team to have everything they need already at home. Not many of us have fancy home offices!
Think about how you can aid with buying physical equipment such as desks and an office chair. Or, how you can equip in other ways. This may be something as simple as offering a flexible start time for those that may have a longer commute.
Put together some options and lay them on the table. Your workforce will be thankful and it will result in better working all round.
9. Check-In With Your Team After The Transition!
Once the change has taken place, be sure to check-in with your team. There may be new concerns or new stress that hasn’t been considered. By communicating openly with your workforce and asking how they’re feeling/adapting you can help where needed.
Hopefully, everybody will be adapting well. Though you should never presume everybody is comfortable just because they appear to be. For some, stress is simply kept all inside and it takes a conversation to let it all out. Be as open as possible and continue to offer support for a happy team.
10. Celebrate Your Team’s Hard Work
Woop! Your team has successfully made the transition and seems to be adapting well to the new change or changes. What next?
Celebrations of course. Think about how you can reward your workforce for all their efforts. We recommend verbal praise as a starting point. You don’t have to go all out, but after-work drinks or a bonus could do the trick. A motivated team needs recognition of what they do right, and you’re the voice to communicate that.