How to help your team deal with business changes

As businesses grow, they often change. This can be difficult or worrying for staff, who may not know if things will change again in the future, if their KPIs or teams will be different, or if the business as a whole will start to go in a different direction.

Some dramatic changes can happen literally overnight, leaving staff concerned, and uncertain about their jobs.

This uncertainty can impact their mental health, which in turn can damage morale, performance, and team cohesion.

McKinsey estimates around 70% of change programs at work fail to achieve their goals. The reasons for this are complicated, and unique to every organisation, but we’ve put together some tips that should help your team deal with change at work.

How to help staff navigate change at work

Involve employees in the process

Employees often don’t mind a general change to the business, but many do not enjoy their ways of working being changed without their input.

Change often comes from the very top of the organisation, instead of including the team that is closest to the procedure or work being changed.

When teams are involved, and their voices heard, they feel a greater sense of control and agency over the direction the business is heading. This can even be quantified, when people are truly invested in change, it’s 30% more likely to stick long-term.

Interview employees about how they feel

Communication between management and employees is important throughout any change. Instead of assuming how the team feels, run interviews to find out for sure.

Make it clear that management wants to hear how the team feels, and that this information matters.

When you know exactly how the team feels, you can address their concerns faster, better, and easier.

Expand communication channels

Continuing on from this, more communication between upper management and the team will help everyone know what is happening, when, and why, as well as how everyone feels about it.

During periods of change, employees will want more communication than usual, so give it to them. Start open forums, set up weekly meetings, make senior team members available for conversations.

If you communicate regularly, it helps show that you aren’t keeping any secrets. It’s also important to be honest. Any attempt to spin things will usually be taken negatively, or interpreted as a smokescreen trying to hide something. Using simple, straightforward language, and being honest about what’s changing and why is the easiest way to earn your team’s trust.

From here, you can begin to actively clear up rumours and misinformation, which allows you to control the narrative around the change.

Giving information to your staff when they ask for it is the simplest way to effectively communicate what’s happening, and why.

Foster a sense of community at work

The culture at work can be one of the first things to suffer when there are big changes happening. Change can be difficult, stressful, and expensive, having a knock-on effect on everyone on the team.

You can counteract this by consciously creating a sense of community, keeping a positive attitude, and recognising and praising good work.

The mindset you adopt can help you maintain control during difficult moments, as well as improving the attitudes of others. You can bolster this with extra encouragement, words of praise, and recognising the great work of the team during a transitional period.

During a period of change our upheaval, remember to be honest, use care, and listen to the concerns of your team. This will put you in the best position to navigate the changes together.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help support your managers and teams through change.

Read about why you should allow your staff more autonomy over how they work, or learn how to help your staff cope with the demands of work.


Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign up for our monthly newsletter on workplace wellbeing, mental health, and how to create a more supportive, inclusive, and psychologically healthy work environment.

Posted on: 28th March 2022