Managing Employee Engagement Through Company Changes

December 7th, 2015

Change can be good – even necessary. As companies grow, change is an essential part of sustaining that growth and developing the organization and its employees.

However, change can also pose challenges. Nearly everyone responds to change initially with caution, if not outright distrust. When managers understand the phases of grappling with change, they are better prepared to help their teams work productively through the change process with a minimum of fear, resistance, or uncertainty.

To manage employee engagement through change, keep these tips in mind:

The phases of reaction to change are predictable.

Nearly everyone responds to change at first with resistance. Do we have to? Why should we? Support for the change may rise initially if it “seems easy,” but take a dive once employees start to feel less competent or comfortable in the new paradigm. Only when staff are ready to let go of what they knew and try out what they don’t does confidence grow again and adaptation to new roles and methods occur.

Managers can do much to shorten the bumpy initial phases. Providing plenty of information, being available to answer questions, and clarifying that initial mistakes won’t be penalized can all show employees that it’s okay to leave behind “how we’ve always done it” in favor of new territory.

…But not all employees go through the phases at the same pace.

Leadership tends to go through the phases of change first and do so quickly, because they are the first ones exposed to the change and often have a hand in shaping how it will be executed. By contrast, front-line employees tend to go through the phases of change last, because they are the last to hear about it, and to go through them more slowly because they must learn why the change has been imposed in addition to how to implement the details.

From the front-line perspective, a certain amount of frustration and resistance is inevitable. Managers can help ensure it doesn’t damage engagement by helping employees understand why the change is taking place and how it helps them do their work better. Managers who are willing and able to field recommendations for implementing the change from front-line staff can also help make the change easier to accept.

At 1st Staffing, our recruiters help each Odessa, Texas, client find the right people to support their company’s change and growth. Contact us today to learn more.

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