Your team has worked long and hard to become a cohesive unit, and they’ve finally gotten into a groove wherein they know each other’s strengths and habits, moving along smoothly. But last week their manager made a lateral move to another department and someone else has taken her place, someone relatively unknown to them. Now they spend more time worrying about how this will affect them moving forward, and their work has begun to suffer as a result. How do you help them deal with such a huge change? For that matter, what works best when bringing on anyone new or dealing with co-workers leaving due to mergers or downsizing?
- Observe their reactions. Whether dealing with a known change, such as the aforementioned merger, or a last-minute departure, watch and listen carefully to your employees. Some may come to you with their concerns, but you more likely will have to pay attention to the undercurrents of talk that float around any office and see if performance changes.
- Include employees. Take the time to address their concerns as forthrightly as possible and assure them you’re taking steps to make a smooth transition. Solicit their input where possible so they feel they have a say in the change rather than it being something thrown at them. Give them regular, scheduled updates (preferably in person, not in an email that can get easily lost, overlooked, or misunderstood) on the impending change and address their concerns.
- Look for the positives. Change brings fear and uncertainty, a worry that it will make the workplace worse somehow. Encourage employees to view change as an opportunity for creativity, whether in fostering a new relationship with a new co-worker or coming up with solutions for savings in the event of a needed downsizing. This doesn’t mean sweeping concerns under the rug or pretending the fear of change doesn’t exist; instead, take what positive measures you can for those most directly affected by it.
- Provide training and support. Again, listen to employees concerns and do what you can to alleviate them. With change comes the feeling of being unsettled; fix what you have control over. If a change means adding new skills, give employees an opportunity to gain them. If it means adding a new employee, have a thorough onboarding process so the new and current employees can have a smooth transition to working together.
Change doesn’t have to be scary or chaotic if you have measures in place to deal with it. Contact the experienced staffing team at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks to go over potential scenarios and come up with a plan so you can embrace it when change does come along.