In the last ten years, there has been a significant change in the workplace, but that transition has accelerated tremendously in the last two years. For instance, in 2020, ten years’ worth of technological advancement occurred in just ten months.
After all, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a period of radical transformation in the workplace, is already underway. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are new technologies and techniques enabling businesses to produce better goods and services.
The COVID-19 problem has changed how we work and advanced this technology revolution. The epidemic made it necessary even though we were already moving toward a remote and digital-first workforce.
As a result, new employment and business opportunities have been opened as the physical and digital worlds have converged.
To stay afloat, employers have had to adjust to these changes in the workplace, and we can be certain that further modifications will be made in 2022.
So, how can businesses encourage staff to continue embracing change? How can they motivate workers to view change as a good thing rather than just another source of stress at work?
How Does Change in the Workplace Affect Employees?
Workers have been swept into new working and living environments in just a few years. It can be difficult to keep up with the constant speed of change in the workplace, from learning new technologies to adjusting to new procedures.
- Employees must stay current with the various learning resources at their disposal. Until a few years ago, training took place in isolated, on-site courses; today, it occurs practically continuously online.
- There is a great demand to “always be learning.” Ongoing training is now possible thanks to tools like AI and social learning systems like Microsoft® Viva. This implies that knowledge and education are subject to limitless change.
- Additionally, the pandemic has given employees new duties. They are now required to comprehend and manage a level of safety technology that they had never before considered.
- They must also negotiate difficulties at work that arise outside of the office. Some people do well with remote work, but even the most flexible workers must adjust to increasingly sophisticated remote communication, such as analytics tools and dashboards that monitor company performance.
- Employees must become specialists in collaboration tools to collaborate with their colleagues properly. Even company conferences, which once served as a social high point, are now attended by avatars and can be tiresome.
- Some workers find it simple to adapt to these types of job changes. They are enthusiastic about changing things up and welcome the unknowns of new technology. Others find it difficult to adjust to the change in the workplace.
- They can reject the change because they need to comprehend why it’s necessary, viewing it as a disruption rather than an opportunity to align operations with strategy better, reach the market faster, or boost profitability.
Why Do Employees Fear Change At Work?
For most workers, the threat of change and the increased uncertainty it brings are very difficult. According to research by the American Psychological Association, restructuring, new leadership, and other organizational changes might result in highly stressed employees who have less faith in their employers and a greater inclination to look for new employment (APA).
Employees’ unease about the increasing job demands has worsened due to the pandemic. More than a third of the more than 7,000 employees in seven countries, according to data from the LiveTiles Global Employee Experience Pulse Check 2021, are concerned about their job security, and about 37% of them are seeking new employment.
To lead change successfully, leadership is essential. Employees may become anxious and tense due to ineffective leadership, and they may become resistant to changing conditions or methods of operation.
According to Mckinsey’s research, poor managerial support and a disengaged workforce account for 70% of complicated, large-scale change programs’ failure to succeed.
How Can HR Leaders Help Employees Embrace Change?
You must first comprehend your employees’ emotions at each stage if you want to support the transition and guide them through it. Employees’ feelings will range from anxiety to relief to exhilaration as soon as you announce a change to your company.
Depending on the kind of shift and the circumstances leading up to it, a range of emotional reactions is expected.
It’s crucial to remember that change is personal, and you must win over each adopter one at a time. The level of resistance displayed by each employee will depend on how profound an effect they anticipate the change having on them.
How easily people accept it depends on their resistance, coping mechanisms, and support system.
Follow these tried-and-true strategies to encourage people to accept change and build
resilience when uncertainty and change are present inside and beyond the workplace.
Create a Compelling “Why” for Every Change
It would help if you created an honest, upbeat, and persuasive story for the changes you want to make, regardless of how you think your staff will respond before any apprehension, uncertainty, or gossip can take hold.
According to studies, most leaders must effectively communicate change in this area. Momentum can stall if staff members believe their leaders need to be more explicit about the goals of the change or their part in carrying it out.
Recall that actively empowering your people is the best method to achieve the maximum level of compliance and buy-in.
What to do:
- Recognize accomplishments or work completed under the previous system to show staff how much you value them and to inspire them to take on the next challenge.
- Explicitly state to employees why and when the company must transform.
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the suggested changes to make employees feel heard and to identify potential obstacles and resistance.
- Describe your goals in terms of results rather than chores.
- Describe how the adjustments will significantly increase the organization’s and each person’s job security.
Communicate About Implemented of Change and Keep Employees Updated
Employees must comprehend their position in the modified organization once the suggested modification has been introduced.
Each employee may understand their level of accountability and who is in charge of supporting communication during the transformation process by clearly defining their duties for all participating employees.
Once certain roles have been identified, you may configure check-in times and milestones to create a communication flow for the entire organization.
Consider using many change communication channels because learning and reception methods are just as individual as change.
Communication from various sources, including management and HR, may be significant to some employees.
What to do:
- Ensure management is informed on the tasks, schedule, problems, and other aspects of executing the change.
- Explain to staff how and how frequently you will keep them informed as the change project develops, then commit to it.
- Assign the appropriate individuals and resources to convince the organization that change is necessary. These people can also assist with queries and information gathering regarding how staff members adapt to the shift.
- Modify the agendas of senior team meetings so that your top priority for change comes first.
- Communicate with your team weekly via email to clear up any misunderstandings and potential roadblocks before they become a problem.
Remove Barriers and Reward Acceptance
You’ll always have early and late adopters with any new thing, concept, or change. Find your early adopters and encourage positive conduct rather than reprimanding unfavorable ones.
Ask early adopters how you make it simpler for others to do the same; don’t be scared to ask.
By giving employees job aids or instruction manuals as a point of reference to help them integrate into the new workflow, you can relieve the pressure of memorizing new processes as soon as you’ve defined how they’ll operate.
What to do:
- Quick assessments or self-evaluations can measure employee readiness before implementing change, allowing you to pinpoint the areas where your organization will require the most training.
- Ensure the new procedures are precisely defined, and adequate training and reference materials are available to aid in committing the memory change.
- Encourage staff members to participate in the transformation by organizing regular team meetings where you can find out what they believe needs to be improved during the transition.
Generate Short Term Wins
Always keep in mind that transformation can take months or even years. Employees may become discouraged during this time, and you may need more time to maintain optimism and enthusiasm for change.
Resistance will still be possible until the change is truly ingrained in your company’s culture.
The Kotter method, a commonly used strategy for managing organizational change, states that the final step in successfully implementing change is to connect the change to corporate culture through shared values and group behavior norms.
What to do:
- Establish a connection between the change and earlier, successful adjustments to reassure staff that they can succeed and ease their fear.
- Establish environments that foster early accomplishments and honor the people who made the initial steps toward change possible.
- Break the shift down into manageable chunks so that your team can experience moments of success along the road.
Coping Strategies to Help Your Employees Through Workplace Change
The following advice should be provided to staff members in a wellness newsletter, and mid-level managers should be encouraged to use it when speaking with staff members one-on-one.
Face Your Fears
Please write down your major worries or fears about this transition so that you don’t let them meditate during the day.
Create a plan for how you will handle the fear if it arises by discussing your concerns with your coworkers to see if anyone else is experiencing it. Even just having a plan in place can help to reduce anxiety.
Be Part Of The Change
Try to adopt a positive outlook and consider the transition as a chance to pick up a new skill, get leadership experience, or connect with some new people.
Reduce Stress And Anxiety
Focus on your health to make wise choices during what seems to be a chaotic period. Unwanted change can trigger a rise in stress-related hormones if untreated, affecting your sleep, appetite, and productivity. Be kind to yourself by:
- Exercising. If you’ve never worked out before, adding a quick daily walk around the building could work wonders for your mood all day.
- Stretching. Stress can very rapidly cause headaches or muscle aches. Spend a few minutes every day relaxing and gently stretching your body.
- Meditating. Set aside time to slow down and clear your mind every day intentionally. No thoughts about work or the upcoming transition are permitted during this time.
Senior leadership, human resources, and management can reduce their workloads by fostering a healthy culture that encourages employees to use these tactics more frequently throughout the year instead of just during upheaval times.
Improve Employee Resilience and Reduce Change-Related Stress
If operations change due to COVID-19 or your business is undertaking significant transitions like mergers or acquisitions, you’re bound to hit obstacles.
Some employees may feel more change-related stress than others.
Strengthen Workplace Relationships
You can manage organizational change better if you maintain the excitement and optimism of your staff. Investing in team-building activities that foster community among employees can improve the workplace.
Give high priority to health and wellbeing initiatives that assist staff in adjusting to stress and new work practices.
The best way to engage employees in organizational transformation is by actively empowering them.
It is possible to overcome potential resistance to change that may appear throughout the business and technological transformation processes or transitions by paying attention to (and acting upon) their concerns.
Change will always occur. Making the right decisions the first time around is significantly less painful. By taking these actions, you can quicken the pace of change while maintaining employee morale.
Are you attempting to gauge and create a successful staff engagement plan? To learn more about how our employee surveys and consulting services can be of assistance, contact the experts right now.
- Most Effective and Proven Time Management Tips, Techniques & Strategies
- Beginner’s Guide For Time Management In 2023
- Why Your Time Management Fails: Everything You Must Know
- Time Management For Work: Everything You Need To Know
- A Guide To Time Management For Dummies
Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.