It’s not enough to inform your team about each change and sell its benefits. Don’t overlook the final step of introducing incentives to reinforce the change and create the commitment you seek.
Here’s how to follow through so that the change sinks in:
Increase “praise bursts.” Always look for opportunities to compliment your employees on their fine work. During upheavals, it’s especially important that you praise staffers who remain open, flexible and agreeable despite disruptions.
Rather than dish out sporadic praise, do it in spurts. Start by saluting the entire team for its actions or collective attitude. Then pat individuals on the back and express admiration for “the little things” each of them does. This way, they’ll get a double dose of praise—both public and private—that will boost their spirits and their willingness to handle change.
Customize your rewards. Beyond praise, reward deserving employees with perks they find truly meaningful. When it comes to choosing incentives, one size does not fit all.
An independent-minded employee may appreciate relief from control when you say, “You’ve done a great job, so I don’t need to watch you as carefully. You can master this change on your own.” A more family-oriented worker may covet paid time off. Find out what motivates each employee and tailor your rewards accordingly.
Set an example. Lead a change campaign by taking responsibility for its success. Tell your team what you get out of it—whether it’s a chance to show that you can withstand shake-ups or the chance to test yourself in the face of chaos.
By explaining what rewards await those who’re most adaptable, you’ll knock down the barriers between you and your staff. All of you will want to prove yourselves and earn whatever incentives excite you the most.
Mix short- and long-term prizes. In times of wrenching change, you can ask only so much of your team before they resist. If you push them too hard or make them wait too long for rewards, they’ll rebel. It’s better to couple modest weekly giveaways, such as gift certificates, with larger monthly or quarterly bonuses.