Just because change is a constant in today’s workplace doesn’t mean employees like it or are open to embrace it. Uncertainty drains concentration and, over time, erodes morale.
To maintain your staffers’ stability and focus through periods of change or upheaval, put changes in the context of departmental and company goals:
Keep employees informed. Employees assume you know more than they do, even if you really don’t. So share as much information as you can, as soon as you can. Changes that take place according to a clear, predetermined plan are much easier to manage than twists and turns that seem to come from nowhere.
Circle the wagons. Don’t isolate your staffers from each other. Bring everyone together to discuss what’s going on and to address any fears and concerns. Answer questions, brainstorm responses and let your staff see that everyone’s in the same boat. Work through initial resistance to changes and then focus on how to maintain productivity as events unfold.
Give staffers more control. Change distracts people because it makes them feel like they’re out of control. Supply some confidence by giving employees more power in areas that aren’t in flux. Delegate authority where you can, and let staffers make decisions and have input in planning responses to change.
Make reasonable commitments. Your employees look to you for assurance. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver, but plan future events as much as you can. By stretching the focus beyond what’s happening right now, you give employees something to look forward to on the other side of the hill.
Take their side. What you say during periods of change communicates volumes to your employees. “We” should always refer to you and your team, not to senior.