Changes are rarely welcome – but mostly always necessary for business growth.
In my line of work as a business consultant, I often find myself coming in new to an established organization, dissecting it, coming up with ideas to create smoother processes, and implementing changes to try to reach a better tomorrow.
The changes can be big (such as a totally new organization structure) or small (such as a no-headphones policy).
Regardless, they’re mostly always met with opposition and people waiting on the first sign of friction from your change to abandon the new way and revert to old habits.
Through my experience, here are 6 tips I’d recommend in communicating any type of change – big or small – to your team.
1) Be totally honest. People can tell when you’re sugar coating or holding back. You’ll gain trust by being forward.
2) Clearly explain why the changes are happening. Be persuasive so they see the benefits from the company side (less waste, greater consistency in packaging, less customer complaints, everyone wins, etc) and point out the benefits for the employees (see point #4).
3) Clearly explain how the changes will happen, what the new expectations will be, how reviews will happen, etc. After the change is explained, lay out the steps that will happen afterward.
4) Tell the employees what’s in it for them. Not necessarily an incentive, but their needs to be a gain for them. If there’s not an upside and this is just something the company has to bear with, be honest with them about it.
5) Open the opportunity for them to communicate with you. Vital that you give them the opportunity to give feedback, ask questions and share ideas. They need to feel some sense ownership and not just being pushed & pulled everywhere.
6) Make sure your superiors support you in these changes and are open about it. No flippancy from any of the upper management. The employees see this unified front & conform easier.
Overall, communication like this come down to being a mindful leader. Our people may not like the changes, but if we’re honest, they respect us and see the value in them, they will make it happen.
Don’t be afraid to build relationships with the team. It makes it more effective to hold them accountable when they are holding themselves to your standard instead of us always having to push them.
Let me know what you think in the comments or if you have any other strategies for communicating changes to your team.