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Janine Milne

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In a Nutshell: Five ways to introduce change without alienating staff

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As HR director of IT reseller Trustmarque Solutions, Liz Reynolds has helped steer the company through some massive change as a result of growth.

Here, she shares her tips on how to manage such change without alienating staff:

1. Listen to people

It’s the people on the front line doing the jobs who know what works and what doesn’t work within the business. So it’s important to listen to them, understand where and how they think that things could be improved and what they want out of the situation.

2. Ensure that both your vision and communication are clear

I’ve seen a lot of management teams that have a clear vision but are unable to communicate it. But you need to be able to do both in order to succeed and keep staff motivated. People will ride out short-term instability if they’ve bought into the organisation’s longer-term vision. So you need to communicate and keep communicating that vision – in fact, communication needs to be so frequent that you get sick of it.

3. Build trust

This means being honest about the bad stuff – don’t hide it or think it will go away. In the same vein, it’s really important to say sorry if you get things wrong – and you will get some things wrong inevitably.

4. Plan, plan and plan some more

Part of the planning process is to put yourself in other people’s shoes and consider the impact that change will have on their work lives. Think about what you can you do to make things as easy as possible for them, even if it’s just ensuring that they are given time to air their concerns.

5. Be generous

If you’re generous with staff, you’ll be rewarded with good will and they’ll try harder. If you can’t be generous, at least be clear why not. Even if you say that you don’t know whether something will be possible, it’s still better than misleading people.

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