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How to Manage Workplace Changes for Your Team

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With digitalisation, today’s workforce and the even physical workplace are experiencing rapid changes. And it is only human nature to resist change out of fear and slip back into the comfort of what is more familiar. However, we have to learn to overcome this fear and manage change at business and individual levels in order to sustain or boost the business growth. Physical workplace changes could be office relocation, office rebranding exercise or major workplace transformation like going digital with filing or moving senior executives out from their private rooms for open, collaborative office environment. These are daunting for employees and here are some tips in managing it:

1. Identify who will be Involved in the change process

The important question here is: who will be affected by this change? Once you have identified these people, the next step is to engage them. Do not leave it to the eleventh hour to tell them – change can be a scary concept to grasp for some, so it is best to give them time come to terms with it and prepare themselves mentally. To further assure your employees, involve them and be open to their suggestions on how the change could be executed.

2. Stay Committed to Change

As aforementioned, employees might resist the change. This could stir your confidence, but remember to commit to it. Human Resource experts suggest that you can start by establishing consequences for situations where change is rejected or accepted over a sufficient amount of time. It does not necessarily have to be harsh, you can start off by offering rewards should they choose to adopt the change by the set deadline. This affirms the change process and shows employees that this is important for business and for themselves.

3. Communication is Vital

Communicate the change in all possible staff channels like emails, intranet portal, posters, meetings and company events. Focus on highlighting the positive outcomes of the change. Do set up feedback mechanisms – such as a short feedback form at the end of a relevant email. Addressing your employees’ feedback is just as important obtaining them. It definitely helps those who are affected build confidence in the process.

In conclusion, your employees play an important role in making the workplace change a success. If you have already invested in implementing the physical workplace change, do consider putting in a more effort to ease the friction for your team. Although your team may accept that there will be change, the transition period is the toughest part of the process – as many HR experts have observed. With proper management, communication and planning, you will then see a more sustainable, positive effect from the change.

How to manage workplace changes for your team Article was first published in the Entrepreneurs’ Digest, Issue 83, January/February 2019.

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