All businesses need their employees to engage with change when it impacts the company, especially when it is imposed on them from management. At any point in time change may be anything from new government regulations or a needed improvement to the way the business works.
What is important is that the company has all employees signed up to believing in the change and understanding why it is needed, whether it has been self imposed or not.
Having a change management strategy is one step that businesses dealing with change need to take. This is a starting point because it sets out what the objectives are from the change that is happening and what the outcomes are expected to be.
If employees go into change blind they are often under motivated because they don't understand what the new working practices they are dealing with are for. This can create problems amongst the workforce which affects the performance of the company.
This change strategy is the starting point for other measures to improve employee engagement such as:
Employees need to be sold on the idea of change. If it means a big upheaval in their business practices then they need to know the reasons why they are making those changes and how it will benefit them and the company.
The benefits of the change need to be promoted to all employees so they feel part of the new way of doing things. Each individual team within a company, together with the employees in it need to be inspired to help bring about the change, not because they just want to keep their jobs but because they want to help drive the change forward.
Without employees having the motivation to deal with the changes they are unlikely to integrate well and the business will suffer as a result.
If employees are able to feel part of the change process they will feel better about what they are working towards. By giving employees forums either through regular meetings or online social media to discuss their opinions about their new working practices or any change that is taking place in the company, they will generally feel empowered.
The empowerment they get from this normally means they will do their jobs better and the company will become more productive. Without this feeling that they are part of the process, motivation levels will suffer.
Senior management should also use the feedback to review how the process is going and evolve and adapt it to meet the needs of the workforce.
Being open to what employees have to say regarding any new business practices is vital. If senior management make an effort to understand what it is employees are feeling they can then take that feedback and make the necessary changes.
Making the changes based on the feedback is a key process because the employees can see that their views are making a difference to the business, which can be motivational because they can see themselves as making a difference.
Change isn't something that businesses need to be scared of. It's a natural process that many companies have to go through and one that is normally very beneficial to a business. Some of the largest companies that have been around for a long time have been through many periods of change and have come out the other side stronger.
As long as a strategy is in place and employees are motivated enough to deal with the new procedures, there are generally no problems. Change management is common in successful businesses and should be an important part of a long term business strategy.