Helping your employees through a major business transition is an exercise in extreme empathy. Almost any change you’re leading or supporting is highly disruptive to somebody on an emotional level.
The key to helping people is understanding why some folks get emotional about major change. Surprisingly, it’s not the change itself; it’s the loss of something known and comfortable. The following tips can help your employees get over their sense of loss and embrace a new way of doing things.
Watch and listen
If you know transformations are coming, carefully watch and listen to your staff members. Whether it’s a restructuring or change to a well-established procedure, transition can unsettle your team.
Sometimes people will relate their anxieties to you, but often, they’ll keep quite while acting a bit differently. Take time to watch and listen to the pulse of your team, and you’ll be better positioned to address their anxieties.
In times of stress and change, employees look to management for answers. As a first step, be as transparent and honest as possible. Talk regularly about what you know and encourage conversation. Show you that you care about your employees by trying to understand their concerns and doing what you can to help.
Showing concern not only helps solve any issues, it also helps employees by allowing them to release stress by talking freely about their concerns.
Address what you can
After listening to concerns and collecting input, address the things you can. If you find an easy solution, take the initiative and fix problems as fast as you can. Even a reassuring word can have a profoundly positive influence on workers in times of uncertainty. If you discover some issues brought on by change that are outside your scope, explain to your staff members the things you can deliver on and what you can’t. Then, direct them to where they can get solutions.
During uncertain times, it may seem to employees that their work isn’t being appreciated by management. By being positive and inspiring them to take initiative, you enable them to keep moving forward, and focused on what they can do, as opposed to fixating on things they have no control over. It can be helpful to come together as a group to develop creative solutions to difficulties brought forward by change.
Invest in training
If you have the chance and the resources, hold training sessions for employees to help them gain any skills they need to thrive moving forward. Preparation and skills training can help them move forward more easily with new tools, processes or structures. Providing this training is also a way to show you understand the difficulties associated with the ongoing transition.
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