Do we pay enough attention to managing change in the workplace?
How readily does your workforce adapt to change? Even the most trusted of your employees might feel uncomfortable with any initiative to change their working practices. They suspect that the changes will disrupt their daily routine. After all, they are comfortable with what they know, what they do, and how they try to resolve problems. Could the proposed changes undermine their role security? After all, they have become “experts” in massaging the existing systems. You won’t necessarily see an overt reaction: It is more likely to be expressed covertly in a passive and non-cooperative form, possibly as an increase in absences from work, or through a reluctance to hand over vital information.
What possible reasons are there for this behaviour?
- Employees feel comfortable with the status quo and their usual routine.
- Some people become anxious with the challenge of learning new things.
- People don’t want to be bothered with learning all over again.
- They fear being seen as too slow to learn, or as making too many mistakes.
- People keep a lot of important information in their heads.
- How will they find time to learn, whilst still doing their job?
- Staff have no initial ownership, and may feel that it’s somebody else’s System.
- They only see one small part of the bigger picture.
- Communications are minimal, and the need for change has not been understood.
- Employees feel that their observations have not been valued in the past.
You would be well advised to ensure that you have a clear strategy for managing change. The existing and new processes must be fully understood, by involving the employees in planning the transition from old to new. You must ensure that you communicate regularly with all staff; this is an essential part of preparation, training and effecting the transition.
It is a well-known fact that employees are more likely to implement and accept their own changes, rather than have change imposed upon them. Once you have their buy-in, the task is made much easier.
Carter Wells: Continuous business improvement. Managing systems, people and profits.
We work with companies who have problems managing their controls, communications, inventory, costs or delivery performance. We help develop their systems and communications, helping them to regain control of their business. For a free consultation, contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.productivityimprovement.co.uk
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