How can organizations better manage changing the workplace?
Businesses frequently are changing the workplace to improve performance. Yet, for being so customary in business, it might be surprising that research persistently shows up just how badly changing the workplace is managed within many firms.
Common mistakes when changing the workplace include:
- No structured methodology to managing change
- Poor leadership of change processes, resulting in misunderstanding and disorder
- Failing to handle the human side of changing the workplace – resulting in lack of buy-in by those most impacted by the change.
It is important to distinguish between small and large changes at work. Small changes happen every day, but still they should no be implemented in an ad hoc fashion. That said, not every small change should be ‘over-managed’ to the extent that it appears to be a bigger deal than it really is. When dealing with workplace changes, some effective principles are:
Principles for Effectively Changing the Workplace
- In general, workers will more easily adapt to changes when they are included in the decision-making process , or at least understand the rationale for change. Therefore communication is at the heart of change.
- As part of that communication process, even for small changes, people need to know what the change is, why and when it is happening, its impact on them, the benefits expected to result, how the change will be implemented and the support they will receive.
- Change needs to occur in a structured way even for small changes. Instituting something new should be planned, discussed,
announced, implemented and reviewed. This approach can be managed for small changes simply in a daily touch-base meeting.
- It is always important to recognize that even the slightest of changes provides an opportunity for demotivated or toxic employees to spread discontent, so it is important that the manager closest to the change takes charge and is seen to lead it from start to finish.
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