As a professional organizer, a large part of my job consists of helping business owners execute change. Specifically, I often work with clients to identify the root causes of chaos in their business, and help them design systems and processes to eliminate the confusion. The ultimate result is a much more efficient workplace and much less stress for all concerned. But as you can imagine, this doesn’t happen overnight. Old habits die hard, as they say, and the process of implementing change can be difficult. One of the greatest challenges is securing the “buy in” of your team. If your team is ready and willing to embrace change, you’re likely to succeed. But if they’re fighting every step of the way, you’re in trouble.
So how can you persuade your team to buy in to changes in your workplace? Below are five key steps.
1) Start by selling the benefits. Most people are naturally resistant to change, and your employees are most likely going to react unhappily to changes in their routine. That’s why it’s important to explain the benefits from the beginning. Explain why it is necessary and how it is going to make their lives easier, and they’re much more likely to support your efforts.
2) Be honest about the process. It’s critical to highlight the benefits your employees can expect once your transition has been completed, but it’s also important not to sugarcoat it. If you promise an easy transition and things get difficult, your employees are likely to get discouraged and lose enthusiasm for the undertaking.
3) Create a reasonable plan for transition. Don’t make unreasonable demands. For instance, if part of your plan includes transitioning to a new bookkeeping system, don’t expect your team to grasp the new system overnight. Give them the time they need to familiarize themselves with the program. Also, keep your team’s current workload in mind while planning this process—if your employees are already overwhelmed with their daily work responsibilities, be careful how much more you ask from them.
4) Remain open to feedback from your team. As you are implementing these changes, remain open to feedback and concerns from employees. The greatest source of frustration for employees is often the feeling that the boss isn’t listening, doesn’t care, or just doesn’t get it. Make it clear that you do understand what you are asking from your team and that you’re legitimately interested in what they have to say.
5) Be flexible. This is closely related to the previous point. Often, your transition won’t go according to plan. If your employees encounter an unexpected obstacle, be ready to make the necessary adjustments to your plan. Don’t waste your energy (and your team’s energy) by insisting that they find a way to fit a square peg into a round hole!
Implementing change in a workplace is often challenging. But you can’t grow if you refuse to change! If you’d like to learn more about this subject, please get in touch with me today!