How to Make Sure you are Ready for Change in Business
As far as humans go, we typically hate change of any sort, even if said change could provide a lot of benefit to our lives. However, change is a constant inevitability within every organization, and fighting it will only stunt business growth. This article will examine what’s preventing a business from becoming adaptable, and the steps companies can take to make change accessible.
How to Ensure Your Business is Ready for Change
There are three major reasons why businesses, and the people that exist within them, hate change: fear of the unknown, lack of reward, and loss of visibility or status.
To prevent employees/employers from digging in their heels at the thought of perceived change, let’s take a look at how to recognize stubborn behavior and how to mitigate these fears.
Fear of the Unknown
Change itself isn’t solely responsible for fear of change; it’s also the way change is initiated, handled, or supervised that leads to your staff feeling uncomfortable. Your employees have a method to their madness and the minute you throw a monkey wrench in their plans is the very second they’ll panic. Without supervision and guidance, your staff will start to fall apart.
The less your employees know, the more scared they become, and a lack of open communication will sabotage your operation. If an organization punishes its employees for not immediately adopting this change, it’ll further decrease morale and trust in upper management.
How to counteract this: Over-communicate, then over-communicate some more, then set deadlines that better help employees understand when they have to switch over to this change. At the same time, you need to let them know why change is necessary. For example, if you’re adopting an online beer menu when you’ve been using paper menus for years, explain that after some research, you found that customers prefer this method, hence bringing in more sales.
Lack of Reward
Change for change’s sake is one of the worst methods of controlling and maintaining new employee rules or regulations. Maybe your business will benefit significantly from this change because it will bring in more revenue to your company. However, your employees aren’t concerned with how the change will help the CEO; they’re interested in benefiting themselves.
When a business flourishes, so do the employees, but you need to communicate plainly how it can, and will, directly improve their lives. It’s often that a perceived lack of reward stalls change, not the absolute removal of it. Regardless, where is the motivation to change if your employees see no real reason to be enthusiastic over more training, red tape, or regulations?
How to counteract this: The easiest way to set up your staff for change is by establishing how a perceived reward for the CEO will translate to the employees. For example, more revenue means a higher salary, more employees covering shifts, or more extended vacations for seasoned workers. Never assume that a reward is evident because it probably isn’t. If you make an effort to explain what your employees earn for their patience, they’ll be ready and willing to change.
Loss of Visibility or Status
When duties change, and new people are hired, jealousy can quickly foster and create problems. Most of your staff will assume the worst without proper communication because we come hard-wired with a negativity bias. It’s unsurprising why employees would be afraid they’d lose their job after an organizational turnover; change will be seen as a threat to their livelihoods.
Suppose a restaurant hired a new server, and they were given a section that belonged to another server to help the new server gain more experience. If management does this without telling either server why this happened, the other server may feel they’ve done something wrong and are more likely to take it out on the new employee, possibly leading them to quit.
Employees who harbor stress internally may start searching for jobs elsewhere, become mentally disengaged, or will begin to lack motivation, heavily affecting your bottom line.
How to counteract this: To avoid unneeded stress, drama, and tension from other team members, make sure to explain how these changes will affect job security, visibility, or status. Never tell your employees that job loss “may” happen because that will cause more panic and resentment. Upper management owes it to their staff to be honest. Not only does honesty create less resistance to change, but it also helps maintain current productivity levels.