Reorganization of staff, acquisition of new software, relocation to new premises, new product policy. In order to evolve and develop, the life of a company is marked by various and varied changes. Today, driving change is one of the key skills for a manager. This is a delicate task because change is generally perceived as a threat or a challenge. It is very rare that there is no opposition to change within an organization. Indeed, employees are destabilized because they find themselves outside their comfort zone. They then have a refusal reflex, a first common reaction when announcing a change. Fortunately, all employees do not react in the same way. There are three types of behavior in the face of change:
- Opponents and skeptics who are thwarted by change
- Those who wait to see what the change will bring
- Supporters who are enthusiastic about change
Successfully convincing your employees of the merits of change is paramount because they are the main players. If they do not cooperate, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to implement change. Support the advocates of change, make them ambassadors so they help you influence and convince skeptics of the benefits that change can bring to business as well as to employees.
Certainly, the change requires an effort of adaptation on the part of your collaborators. It is important that you accompany reluctant collaborators at every step in the process of accepting change.
- Reactions to Change
Following the announcement of the change, your employees will go through a range of emotional reactions:
- Denial: they refuse to believe in the announced change.
- Anger: they rebelled, strongly opposed the change and refused to hear about it.
- Fear and sadness: they plunge into nostalgia with the blow of “it was better before” or “we always done like that, why we would change!” Or in anxiety” how will I deal with it? “.
- Negotiation, blackmail: feeling that change is inevitable, they are trying to negotiate some arrangements in their favor.
- Resignation: they resign themselves and accept, against their will, the change.
As a manager, it is essential to be able to recognize these reactions, not to ignore them and to provide a suitable response. You must let this process take place so that the appropriation of change is effective. Wanting to avoid this step is a waste of time because despite your efforts, the doubts and fears of your collaborators will eventually emerge.
- Explain the Change
The first step in a change is to explain why. Be transparent and consistent. If you move to new premises, it is because the business is expanding and lacks space. If you change software, you have reached the end of the capabilities of the one you are currently using.
Bring together all the staff concerned and impacted by this change and explain the different reasons. Highlight the advantages of new premises or new software and present the benefits for employees, without neglecting to mention the less attractive aspects. Answer questions honestly. This change must make sense so that employees can take ownership of it.
- Be in touch
Give an attentive ear to your collaborators and avoid judgment. Be empathetic: put yourself in their place and try to understand what they feel. Encourage dialogue by meeting them individually and in a group meeting. Gather the expectations, doubts or discomforts of each. It is essential to understand why they are worried or unhappy in order to solve the problem and propose appropriate solutions while continuing to progress.
For example, following a move to new premises, one of your employees is upset because his journey time is extended. Why not offer him to set up his schedules or do teleporting.
Because they will feel understood, your employees will move faster towards the acceptance of change and have more rational responses:
Ownership: they reflect on how to adapt and contribute to change. The re-engagement: they finally perceive the benefits they can derive from the new situation resulting from the change.
- Involve the Reluctant
You must allow time for reluctant collaborators to get used to change. Above all, avoid forcing them and precipitating them at the risk of turning them further. Involve them as much as possible in the process of change. Show them that their opinion counts and that you are trying to find solutions to facilitate their adaptation. If you make efforts, it implies that they too must do it. It is the giving and giving spirit.
- Provide training
Some employees refuse change simply because they are afraid of not being up to the job, or because they doubt their ability to adapt. These concerns concern all levels of the company, from the manager to the operator.
To remedy this, offer coaching, coaching and training to the employees concerned. The coaching change can greatly help the manager to motivate and engage their team. As for the employees, they are accompanied in their process of adherence to change.
- Greet the Adaptability
Encourage your employees, acknowledge their efforts and value them. A compliment is so much stronger than a criticism or “you see it was not that hard”
Living a change is not easy and it is essential to recognize and acknowledge the work of your staff to adapt and accept change.
In order for changes to take place in a company as efficiently as possible, it is essential to support reluctant employees. You must prove that this is happening for the benefit of all, and that the interests of each will be taken into account as far as possible.
Listen to your employees, identify their fears and doubts, and provide appropriate solutions. Finally, do not hesitate to rely on employees already convinced by the merits of the change to convince the most skeptical.