We always enjoy the OWA’s One Minute Mentor emails and thought we would share this one as it is particularly relevant during this challenging economic period.
Helping Employees Adapt to Change by Audrey Pavia, Vice President of Marketing at Tura, Inc:
We all face change – more often than not. Staff changes, downsizing, reorganizing and cost cutting are most common especially today amongst a fiercely economic environment. No industry is exempt.
For those of us that have been in the optical industry for many years – we have seen great change to the landscape. We enjoyed many years of tremendous growth – the past few years have come to a screeching halt. Growing up through the strong growth years makes the difficulty of this change even more pronounced. No one said it was easy, but it does challenge us to deal with it the best that we can.
Accepting that our environment has changed and knowing that we must accept such changes are the first step to an easier transition. Smarter or different types of decisions will have to be made, new ways of doing business will have to be uncovered, and organizational changes will have to be made to ensure survival and what constitutes the new success.
Next, we have to implement the changes. Managing the changes properly is critical to success. No one wants staff carrying poor morale around on their shoulders – they are contagious to other staff and worse off cancerous to customers, which in turn leads to loss in revenues and lower profit margins.
Following are some tips to ensure successful implementation of changes.
- Communication is always important, but it is critical in a changing business environment. Make every effort to ensure that all employees understand the reasons for the changes.
- Involve those of the team who would be instrumental with strategic planning and implementing any changes. Make sure they understand that they are the coaches who will encourage and spur the team forward
- Take time – making changes too quickly often leads to chaos and distrust. It takes time to absorb new information, learn new systems or procedures and to do things in a new and different way. Employees will feel more comfortable if everyone learns the new plan all at once in a structured manner.
- Recognize that change affects each individual differently. Some people are more adaptable than others. Many top performers will roll up their sleeves to make things work – moving out of their comfort zone instantly. Others may be completely overwhelmed. Let them know you understand the challenges they are facing and that you are there to help them through it.
- Manage resistance – We are basically creatures of habit. We like doing things the same way. Doing things differently takes us out of our comfort zones. Talk to anyone who comes to work with a chip on his or her shoulder. Ask the person who is making negative remarks and pulling down morale to refrain from doing so. Explain that everyone is working hard pull together and deliver their best performance each day. Ask them what you can do to help them.
- Be a role model – It is up to the leaders to maintain employee morale through change. Set the tone; be a role model and be an example for others to follow. During tough times people will always watch how their leader is acting. Don’t let your guard down when it comes to your attitude.
- Training – To reduce the loss of productivity during change, make sure your people have the necessary skills to succeed. Training must be a top priority.
The Bottom Line
Now for the final points: Making those hard choices, meeting your challenges head on, and adapting to change with new ways of doing business is the only way to go.
Will you choose to be like the chameleon, which can quickly adapt to a changing environment? Or, will you choose to follow in the path of the once powerful Tyrannosaurus Rex that became extinct because it could not respond to a changing environment?
The truth is that the business environment has changed – it is business not as usual. We must accept it and move forward.
We can choose to embrace new ways of doing business or be left behind. Can you rise to meet the challenges?