• Supporting Staff Through Times of Change…

    Supporting Staff Through Times of Change…


    Carried on from previous post…..

    1. Communicate well

    2. Tackle change fatigue

    3. Listen to concerns

    4. Dealing with the impact on individual managers

    5. Resilience

    6. Maintaining engagement during change


    Communicate well.  It sounds self-explanatory this one but it’s actually a little subjective.  What does ‘well’ mean to you?  To your employees?  What form of ‘communication’ are they referring too?  See, quite a bit of scope for mixed and missed messages so I’d like to explain it in a little more detail.

    People communicate in very different styles so it’s a good idea to make sure you accommodate those styles, not just what is logistically simple (all staff email).   Make sure you talk about big picture for those who respond to that mode, the drivers for change, the perceived benefits of doing so, include linkages to vision, strategy and purpose.  Some people respond best visually, use diagrams, models, and pictures to paint a picture for this group.  Detail.  For those who like/need detail change can be particularly stressful as the detail is often withheld or simply not available.  In this case firstly challenge whether the information could actually be shared.  Staff like knowing what’s going on, or ‘being in on things’.  If it’s simply not available, state that and then refer to some supporting principles underpinning the change to help allay the fears that naturally arise.  Principles could include:  No person left behind. Old (work, functions etc) is not bad.  Managers will be receptive to questions.  Uncertainty is part of life, this is no different.  We will get through it.  They are not magic bullets but each of those statements could underpin a wide range of supportive, communicative behaviours.  Some people want to read the message, others want to hear it.  Be cognisant of timing of delivery.  Make an address available after the fact for those on leave, different rosters, otherwise occupied or in different locations.

    Your peoples’ response to change will depend partly on how the reason for the change/s is communicated.  Be open and transparent about the opportunity for input, the likely loss of staff/resources (and what you plan to do about that).  Address also the risks of not changing.  In circumstances where the scope to influence decisions is limited, be upfront about that too.  People need information so they can make informed decisions.  If they think there is scope for input when actually there’s not, they may agitate for input or experience frustration when they don’t get any input.

    Another criterion for communicating ‘well’ would be communicating often.  Remember that communication is often 2-way.  Don’t just espouse messages from an ivory tower.  Talk to teams, even individuals and get their perspective.  You never know what you might encounter but if you’re engaging with them, that’s a clear and powerful message you’re sending.

    My next post will tackle Change Fatigue.



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      Sean is an experienced coach, speaker and facilitator who is passionate about improving the relationship between people, their work and the organisations they work for. If you want to get the most out of your managers, supervisors and their teams and think that work can or should be a rewarding and enjoyable component of a productive and meaningful life it might be worth a chat.

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