Change is in the air: How will you manage your team when business shifts?

By Robert Half on 27th March 2020

When a company is in transition, office gossip can run rampant. And before you can put together a firm communication plan, the story has changed multiple times. 

That is why change management must be tackled immediately when a business is about to undergo a disruption — positive or negative. And it isn’t just a one-size-fits-all proposition. Different employees can view change in various ways. Often the differences are generational. In a recent US study commissioned by Robert Half, 30% of CFOs said they see the greatest generational differences in employees' communication skills, the ability to adapt to change was next in line, at 26%.  

Below are a few tactics managers can employ to help their employees not only understand the change and the reasons for it but also, how they can contribute to and benefit from it: 

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Knowing how important leadership is today we understand the uncertainties we’re all experiencing from the pandemic. Turns in the economy, and changes to our workforces (just to name a few) are coming at us from many different directions. As a result, being intentional about our leadership behaviours now, more than ever, is critical.

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Communicate, communicate, communicate 

This should always be the top priority. Involve employees as soon as goals and priorities shift. Even if you don’t have all the particulars, share as much information as possible that could be of value to your team. Then, don’t be afraid to ask for input on the situation.  

Be transparent 

Employees will pick up on your tone. If you are not honest with them, they’ll sense it. Explain to them what the change will entail. This includes what will be expected of the team as a whole and as individuals.  If the change is intended to lead to good things for your staff, make sure they know that upfront. This will help them feel more invested in and accepting. 

Focus on success 

Everyone plays a role in successful change. It is a team effort. As a manager and leader, don’t hesitate to celebrate the victories along the way. 

Keep on communicating 

It might seem redundant, but it truly is the key to any change. Once a major change is in place — whether it’s an M&A or a change in business philosophy — more than likely you’ll need to begin a whole new chapter of communication with your employees. You may also need to offer training or bring in extra support, which should also be communicated. As a manager, it's important to approach each change with a proactive, thoughtful, and strategic approach. That will make the rest of it far easier. 

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