One of the most difficult times a leader faces during the course of a career is dealing with change within an organization. From company mergers and account closings to employment shifts and adopting hybrid workforce solutions, leading a team through the uncertainty of change and company transformation can be challenging. However, leaders can expect at one time or another, they will have to face change head on.
According to a study by Garter, organizations have averaged five major companywide changes in the past three years, and surprisingly, not including changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, 75% of companies expect major change initiatives to increase in the near future. With change affecting organizations across North America, leaders will have to embrace a few techniques to ensure successful transitions for their teams.
Keep Communication Lines Open
During uncertain times, it can be confusing for employees and feel as though there is a disconnect between them and leadership. While upper management is tasked with making difficult decisions for their organizations, staff members may feel like they are being overtly kept out of the loop, which hinders morale and can cause dissention and disengagement. To avoid this, over communicate. Utilize different types of communication, such as meetings, newsletters, and updates. And, be sure to provide an avenue for employees to voice their questions or concerns.
Embrace Your Company Culture
When working through an organizational shift, it can feel like you’re on shaky ground. This is why it’s imperative to focus on the constants that create the foundation of your company. One of those constants should be the cornerstone of your foundation: company culture. The culture of your organization is comprised of the shared values and beliefs your staff and leadership hold. Focusing on and embracing these values will help your employees during potentially uncertain times.
Create a Transition Team
While there are professionals who have made a career leading third-party organizations through change, you don’t necessarily have to hire a transitional leader to successfully navigate such initiatives. However, it is important to have a team that focuses on the transition. Consider building a group inhouse to develop the timeframe, goals, and needs of the company’s change. This transition team can include people from all aspects of the company. The more diverse the better. Having leadership and employees alike on the team will help the company better communicate with all parties involved and can help build a think-outside-the-box approach.
While change can often be stressful, it doesn’t have to be for individuals in your organization. If handled properly, seismic shifts can potentially be the sparks needed to jump start stagnant productivity and stalled creativity. And while the only certainty is uncertainty, with the right approach you can turn uncertainty into sustained success.