A major workplace change is almost always predicated by growth, relocation or renovation. Whatever the reason it can be a big interruption for weeks and even months. Beyond the actual physical change that occurs, habits, emotions and cultural landscapes change as well. Change can be uncomfortable but It can also be a wonderful opportunity to bring the team back together.
If proper change management strategies are in place before a single piece of furniture is moved, it can be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Here are some proven strategies to make workplace change as painless as possible.
Brand Your Change
Set the tone by giving it a brand. By branding change, you can create a sense of purpose and meaning that your team can get behind. A successful brand represents positive emotions established by messaging, imagery and leadership. What are the motivating factors driving the change? Use these key themes to create a brand-guideline with mission statements, purpose and anticipated outcomes. When you give change a brand, it’s easier to get everyone else on board.
Don’t sugar coat change. Be as transparent as possible to better manage expectations down the road. Change can be massively disruptive especially when it reaches across multiple departments in the workplace. In order to better manage change, spend plenty of time planning the different phases of change and share those plans with everyone on the team. Set realistic expectations about small details and long-term goals.
Before change occurs you need to appoint a few champions of change. These individuals may be in leadership roles, but don’t overlook people who are really excited about the new workplace. It takes a positive attitude to deal with change, and if you have appointed change champions who are enthusiastic, those sentiments disseminate throughout the workplace.
There are bound to be questions and concerns both before and after workplace change. By assigning change champions you create a centralized resource center to field questions and inspire a positive outlook. This also frees up the leadership team to address high-level objectives without responding to drop-in questions or email inquiries.
As we mentioned earlier, change can be incredibly disruptive, both during and even after all of the desks and chairs are back into place. Creating a support system can alleviate a lot of headaches and frustrations after the change.
Let’s face it, change is scary. With proper planning, change can be a rewarding and positive experience for the entire workplace. You can’t anticipate every little misstep along the way, but by setting an optimistic tone and having systems in place to address issues when they arise, you can stay on track. Is your workplace facing change? Let us know if you have any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you!