How to effectively cope with change in the workplace?
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Change can be an intimidating part of our career. The uncertainty it initially brings may trigger a fear of failure. However, various kinds of organisational change take place regularly in a workplace, from small changes that we may look over, to more impactful changes that will affect various aspects of the business. It is therefore an essential skill to anyone in a management or leadership position to successfully prepare for and execute any upcoming changes, as well as prepare and support others and help their employees in the process of embracing the change and completing their tasks in order for the change to be applied.
In this article, we look at the process of change in the workplace closely, mention examples and advise you with ways you can enrich your skills or the skills of your workforce in the successful management of change. We will help you implement an effective change strategy, taking into consideration both the negative and positive aspects of change.
Would you or your workforce benefit from change management training? Basegreen Academy offers a Level 3 Diploma in Management, aimed at current and aspiring managers, as well as a Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership, best suited for individuals who are currently in a middle management position. We also offer management courses specific to the social care sector. These courses are both nationally recognised and regulated, and provide the skills and knowledge in leading and managing individuals and teams, developing strategic plans and managing strategic change. They are available online to complete through our e-learning portfolio, allowing learners to work at their own pace and base their study times on their schedule as well as the demands of their place of employment. Providing effective training to management is intrinsic to the growth of any organisation – as many as 84% of employees at top-performing companies receive all the training necessary in their field, allowing them to perform better at their occupation.
First Step: Understand the Change
The most important question to take control of the change is to ask is what do we need to change and why. However, evaluating the change which will take effect is more successful when done in depth.
Answering questions and laying out the information will create a better overview of the change taking place, and will set us on a path to comprehensive solutions to any problems.
Who and what will this change affect? The organisation? The employees? Our strategy? Our budget? Perhaps it’s a change of the business environment, a change of roles and responsibilities, or a change to how much of our budget we need to allocate to a specific project. After answering these questions, we can go even further. Let’s say the change is affecting budget; where have we been allocating our budget? Where can we cut down?
Further, it is good to map out how this change will affect the areas we’ve been identified. For example, if we’ve got a smaller budget, we may have to cut down on our spendings. It may be in place to ask; what are the most essential spendings we make, and where can we spend less?
It will benefit us to face our fears with a realistic approach, and specify what is making this change feel like a threat to us.
We will ensure to also focus on the positives of the change. Change can be motivating and exciting if we view it from that perspective – to do so, we need to be flexible and adaptable (one of the ‘Skills and Characteristics of a Good Manager’). We can replace our fears with positive acknowlegments. Change always comes for a reason; even if cutting down your budget may be limiting to any spending we want to make, the money we save will come to a different use. It’s important to encourage our employees and/or colleagues to take these steps as well; see ‘Second Step’ below.
Second Step: Prepare and Support Your Employees and/or Colleagues
This step applies throughout the duration of the process of the upcoming change. We may want to combine it with the ‘First Step’ mentioned above. Change can feel uncomfortable, and others may not immediately be able to adapt when they don’t know what to expect. A good way to proceed is to set up regular meetings and discuss the upcoming changes in depth, ensuring that everybody gets the help and support they need in understanding and adapting suitably and encouraging any questions that will help develop the understanding of the upcoming change for everybody. Employees should always comprehend the ‘Why’ of their task and what they’re required to do.
We are to ensure we make a good use of communication skills – read our ‘Skills and Characteristics of a Good Manager’ article to find out more. We should be transparent and articulate any challenges that will come with this change clearly, but also how we are going to overcome them (we can incorporate this into our discussion during or after our planning). As mentioned above, it’s also important to stay positive, so whatever positives we’ve identified ourselves, we should also successfully transfer onto the members of our team. Change is constant – overcoming the challenges that come with change will be a regular part of the career of your employees and colleagues. We should encourage our employees and team members to embrace and take the best advantage of change, seeing it as an opportunity for learning new skills and innovation. Managers and those in a leadership position may benefit from our short online course ‘Developing Good Employee Relations,’ which provides the skills to build confidence in management by sharing the company vision, building strong teams, listening to feedback, performance management and dealing with negativity. We also offer a course in ‘Developing Teamwork.’ Have a look at our business e-learning suite to find out more.
Third Step: Plan the Change
The way change is managed varies in every company; some may have very ‘set-in-stone’ processes in place, while others will be more flexible and open to ideas when approaching change. Implementing the change can be viewed similarly to planning goals for your organisation. In planning high impact change, we may benefit from setting ‘SMART’ goals – or rather, ‘SMARTER’ goals. SMARTER goals will assist us in covering all of the relevant aspects of composing our change management plan.
1. Specific: The more detail you involve in your planning, the simpler will it be to commence the plan to reach your goals. For example, instead of saying ‘we need to allocate more money to our sales budget,’ it’s useful to say ‘we need to cut down our marketing budget by 10% and allocate this money to sales.’
2. Measurable: Measuring the success of our ongoing plans helps us to examine whether we are making progress in reaching our goal. Depending on the change we need to make, and on the consequent planning we should commence, there are many ways to track our progress in any goal. In organisations, a great way to observe and understand our improvement are statistics, sets of data and surveys.
3. Achievable: We need to ask ourselves about our current time and resources. What are we able to achieve with these? To what extend can we reach our goal with these?
4. Realistic: It’s certainly not useful to have a negative approach regarding our goals and planning, but reasonable criticism is necessary in order to be able to set goals that we have the capacity to accomplish.
Relevant: This point is sometimes replaced by ‘Relevant,’ depending on the type of goal-setting and planning we are to do. We need to consider whether this change, and potentially, this new goal, is truly needed and worth investing our time and resources into. Is it solving a problem, and if so, how much does this current problem impact us and how will the solution benefit us?
5. Timeframe: What is a reasonable time frame we can commit to in order to accomplish this goal? We cannot plan within too short of a notice and put unrealistic expectations on ourselves or our staff (refer to ‘Achievable’ and ‘Realistic,’), however, if we schedule our deadline too late, that can be demotivating as well as a waste of time and resources.
6. Evaluate/Evidence: Referring back to ‘Measurable,’ we will closely examine the data from tracking the starting evidence of the problem, the improvement process as well as the end result. What have we achieved? Are there any areas which have not been successfully dealt with using our current plan?
7. Re-evalute: More close examination; should we repeat a similar change? Can we reuse our plan next time?
Develop your workforce in depth: Our Level 3 and Level 5 Diploma provide the skills managers and leaders need in order to plan, manage and implement change successfully.
Fourth Step: Commence the Change
Now that we have understood the change, and came up with a well-constructed plan to go forward with it, it’s time to commence the change. We need to ensure we keep a good track of how the change is coming into place and how all the steps of our goal are being accomplished (referring again to ‘Measure’). We are to stick closely to all of the steps we’ve planned out, though we may be fluid in the details – if that is the case, we need to communicate this clearly and change the plan.
Fifth Step: Analyse It
If the change was of a high enough impact that we needed to plan for it in depth, we now want to analyse the results of this change (we should refer to number 6. And number 7. of the SMARTER planning strategy above). We also want to ensure everybody in our team has complied with the change adequately, and that they are not lacking any support or additional help.
We hope you have found this article helpful and enriching in the development of your workforce or your personal development.
At Basegreen Academy, we can provide you or your staff with development and training that will fill skill gaps and become a tool for seeing further growth and return on investment for your organisation. Our Level 3 and Level 5 Diplomas in Management and Leadership provide the skills and knowledge in planning and managing change adequately, as well as many other management skills. We further offer management courses designed specifically for the social care sector.
Not only are correct training methods of excellent value to individual learners – the ability to realise relevant workforce development through professional training is also intrinsic to an effective organisation’s survival and growth. One of the key features of today’s modern work practice is the design and implementation of learning and development solutions, whether that is improving a specific skill set, productivity or gearing up for a complex project. We believe the flexibility of our training will greatly benefit your organisation. Not only are we able to deliver many of our accredited, nationally recognised courses online, we would also like to offer to design a bespoke learning solution for your organisation. If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of flexible learning, you can do so by reading our ‘Top Reasons to Invest in Flexible and Online Learning’ blogpost.
We prioritise working in partnership with you and listening to the specific needs of your organisation in order to implement an effective solution designed for your company. We thus offer a complimentary organisational needs analysis, to discuss your requirements and find solutions to fill skill gaps in your organisation, tailoring our services to your demands. Our complimentary consultation can be requested here on our website:
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