There are many reasons why change is hard for your employees. According to many personality profiles the % of risk takers or even those who will embrace change is around 25%- 30% at most. That leaves 7 out of 10 employees who would rather not change. So what happens when business processes must change in a company?
As I have worked with many teams to help improve their performance, the reasons they have given me specifically are:
- The Fear of the Unknown. No one told them how this change would impact them.
- They find comfort in the current business process. They know what to expect each day.
- They project in their minds that the new end result will be more difficult than what they are currently doing.
As the saying goes, the Devil you know is better than the Devil you don’t.
How can managers and leaders of team get their employees to embrace change?
Take them on the journey in their mind BEFORE you begin the real journey. What do I mean? Those of you who have children will understand. When I am taking my kids on a trip what I do first is I explain to them what the journey is. I paint the picture of the excitement of our destination. What it will look like when we get there and what they will experience.
Next I tell them why we are going. This is very important because if they embrace the why of the journey, then any difficulty along the way we experience can be overcome with their commitment to the why.
Lastly I tell them how it will happen. When we will leave, how we will travel, how we will handle our time at the airport for instance and how we will spend our time along the way. The more detailed I am, the more comfort they have in knowing what is coming next. If I did not take this approach there would be no buy in for the journey.
These same initial three steps can be used with your employees when you have to implement a change in process or procedure.
Explain what is going to change. Paint the picture of where you are, what the destination is and what the impact will be when you get there. Maybe it is a process that makes their job easier. Maybe it is upgrading the workspace. Maybe it is getting customers through the buying process quicker.
Whatever it is, you need to paint the destination as a place they will desire to get to.
Next focus on why this has to happen. Remember that the why has to connect to the individuals taking the journey. Just because it is important to upper management is not enough. Maybe it means more customers for them to sell, thus more commissions. Maybe it is removing a stressful situation so it makes their job easier to do each day.
Lastly tell them how it will occur. When will this change begin? When will training take place if new skills are required? Explain every stage or step along with a timeline for completion. Explain how each of them will be impacted and their responsibility during these changes.
Giving them a very detailed structure may be counter-intuitive to some but the more details they have, the less time they spend creating situations in their minds that don’t exist.
Remember change is hard for 70% of your employees. But if you outline these first three steps correctly, then implementing any change of process will be more effective and embraced by your team.
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