By Katie Neumann • September 13, 2018

5 Steps to Address Change: The Monster Under Your Bed

Change is the equivalent to the monster living under your bed. Why? It’s unknown, and the unknown incites fear. Do you think your employees do their best work in those circumstances? It’s unlikely.

Your employees may be thinking their job is in jeopardy, worried they don’t have the whole story, scared they will fail with this new change, frustrated if they struggle to adapt to the change, and angry when they invested so much time learning how to complete tasks, “the old way”.

Change is inevitable, so how do you address it without causing widespread panic? Following these 5 steps can help you and your employees navigate change whether it addresses policy, processes, or software.

1. Address change openly, honestly, and as soon as possible.

Building a strong rapport will help you implement any change. You need the support of your team and the fastest way to gain that is with open and honest communication. Prepare your employees for change in advance. Be direct without being cruel.

2. Give a timeframe when you will know more information.

How soon can they expect more information? Having a scheduled meeting in place will ease nerves. There is an end to the unknown, and it’s on Thursday at 8 am in the conference room!

"58 percent of the companies failed to meet their targets"- Helping employees embrace change, report by McKinsey & Company

3. Have empathy.

Acknowledge what the change will mean for them. Will they need to learn more skills? Which will be an added workload. Will they make mistakes as they learn? It’s likely. Will processes take longer in the beginning? Possibly. Those factors may contribute to fear, stress, and push back.

4. Present change with a positive spin.

Remind employees that learning a new skill, software, or procedure is going to put them ahead in the long run. Hearing how the change can be beneficial for all parties is a win-win all around.

5. Take questions. Listen to the concerns and fears. Address what you can.

Give employees a chance to share their thoughts and concerns. Being heard and validated can go a long way. You may not be able to answer all their questions, and that’s okay. Answer what you can and are able to share.

What is the monster exactly? Not you, not your employees, not the change. The monster is the effect the change will have on employees. Don’t let your employees sit in the dark- shine a light under the bed to keep the monsters at bay.

Read more about Change and Change Management:

Change Management | 8 Key Lessons To Learn Before Implementing a New ERP Solution

Why Some Companies Are Afraid to Adapt

How Digital Transformation is Different This Time