By The Allemano Group,
When a company is going through a significant internal change – be it a merger, acquisition, new senior management team, layoffs, etc. – it is very common for employees to become worried about the stability of the company and the security of their position. This is a lose/lose situation for both employees and employers.
At the first whisper of a big change, many employees will start searching for a new job, creating undue stress, which often results in a drop in work productivity (until the change is resolved or they leave the company).
For an employer, this drop in employee productivity can result in a correlated drop in revenue. Especially when the change is due to a merger or acquisition, a drop in company revenue or an increase in employee turnover rates (and therefore, an increase in hiring costs) can put the entire merger/acquisition opportunity at risk.
These seven tips will help your company to address employees’ unrest during these difficult, and often turbulent, times:
1 - Strategize proactively
If issues surrounding the change are handled on a case-by-case basis as they arise, you risk morale and engagement being severely compromised. Instead, develop a proactive change management strategy prior to the announcement of the change, which outlines how you will adjust your company’s communications, systems and processes during this time. The change, and employees’ reactions to the situation, should be considered in all management-level decisions, to ensure that all decisions continue to address employees’ potential concerns and alleviate any potential issues that may arise.
2 - Evaluate your company’s internal culture to ensure that all elements are addressed in your strategy
An examination of the company’s culture will demonstrate employees’ readiness for change, identify possible issues and point out key employees who will be strong influencers (both positively and negatively) in the rollout of the change. Once the culture is understood, communicate with employees how your company culture will be affected by the proposed internal change – both in terms of day-to-day life and what is expected of them - during and after the completion of the change.
3 - Start at the top
Employees across all business levels will be concerned when they hear about a significant change in the workplace so it is important to consider all employees when developing your strategy. Every single upper-level employee (including the CEO, VP and middle management) will need to present a strong, consistent face to ensure that lower-level employees are not spooked. Middle and upper management will need to model the behaviour that you wish to see exhibited by the lower-level employees, to ensure that they know what is expected of them.
4 - Provide specific, individual outlines on expectations & new metrics for success/failure
As mentioned above, it is important that staff understand what the company expects of them so that they can act accordingly. Provide your team with specific outlines for what you expect during the change. Give them the opportunity to provide feedback on your strategy and, if applicable, let them suggest ways to implement change that will benefit both the company and the individual employees. By giving employees a way to actively participate in the change, they will feel more secure and positive in their role.
5 - Transparency is key
If you provide your employees with a strong case for the reason behind the change, you will find that they are more supportive of the idea and will be less likely to balk. Two-way communication and transparency is key in this instance; don’t be afraid to repeat your messages across multiple mediums to ensure that all employees have received and understand the reason behind the change that your company is experiencing.
6 - Reward good behavior
In your strategy, it is important to outline a plan for how your management team can incentivize and reward good behavior during the transition. These incentives can help to motivate resistant employees to accept the change, and as a result, minimize negative feedback within the staff. Keep in mind that the more significant the reward (i.e. bonuses, promotions, raises, etc.) and the more public the reward’s distribution is, the more influential the incentive will be to motivate other employees.
7 - Be prepared for anything
The only thing that you can be sure of in a situation like this is the inconsistency and unpredictability of people. As such, plan for all foreseeable outcomes in your strategy but also continue to evaluate its successes and failures as the program continues. Ongoing evaluation will ensure that you are able to identify new and unexpected issues as soon as possible, and then react accordingly.
If your company is planning to implement a significant internal change in the near future, proactive planning is key in ensuring that your business’ performance – be it financial, customer satisfaction or logistical – is not negatively impacted by the change. These seven tips will help you to keep your employees happy and productive, no matter how the internal change is manifested.
If you’ve tried these tips or if you have any additional ideas on how to optimize a company’s change management strategy, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our handy infographic on this subject at www.allemano.ca/blog or comment to share your ideas with us!
The Allemano Group is an executive sales recruiting company that specializes in the recruitment and placement of Industrial and Business-to-Business sales professionals. Sales teams are the most critical component of every organization, and hiring great salespeople is challenging. We help companies save time and money by finding the right sales talent quickly.
To begin your search for the next great sales organization,
Please call 905 361 4902 or visit allemano.ca