Dealing with resistance to change in the workplace can be costly and time-consuming. We all feel and react very differently when faced with change and without addressing this resistance, results take longer to achieve, issues go unaddressed and people get frustrated.
Change is inevitable, now more than ever. The world we live and work in is becoming more complex and dynamic. These days, it’s often about doing more with less to get people on-board and keep them engaged. Technology and ideas are evolving fast and the only certainty is that change is here to stay, which produces strong emotion in us.
The challenge for organisations is how they prepare and support their people through change. You know you need to develop and support people, yet time and resources are always limited. To add to this change challenge, we all respond to and feel very differently about it, and we aren’t always upfront either. We all know people who proudly wear their “I love change!” badge. Then a change comes along and it’s a different story.
Focus on the people
Systems and processes are regularly the primary focus of change initiatives, leaving the people who are implementing the change or on the receiving end of it with no idea of what is happening. All too often, the training and communications plans are merely an afterthought at best.
An example that we often see is providing ‘stress management training’ after an organisational restructure where no thought was put into the people element of how the ways of working need to change. The horse called ‘stress’ has already bolted and they are chasing to catch-up.
Providing employees with timely information and making sure they are equipped to deal with change is essential. Get it right, and your people will be your biggest change champions. Get it wrong, and it not only means unsuccessful or delayed change; the cost to engagement, teamwork and relationships will take a long time to recover from.
The secret to sustainable change isn’t rocket science. It’s about knowing ourselves and understanding those around us and using this to adapt and connect to build stronger relationships. By working together, leaders, managers and HR teams can help people to build their resilience, aid wellbeing and support progression. This in turn creates an environment that encourages your people to lead and manage sustainable change.
No news is never good news when it comes to change. People talk, it’s human nature. When we’re not given the information that we need and want, we create it for ourselves, filling in the blanks. Communicate everything….even when there isn’t anything to communicate, tell people that so that there is no ambiguity or surprises.
Give your people and your change initiatives a fighting chance. Be the organisation that puts its people first by giving them the development and support to prepare them for the future.
Author: Chris Mooney, Co-founder, Right Trax Training, www.righttraxtraining.co.uk| firstname.lastname@example.org
Right Trax Training works with managers and their teams to help them interact and communicate more effectively, giving people the skills and mindset they need to better deal with change and conflict and lead effectively.