As a living, breathing entity, your business is continuously evolving. So when you decide to initiate extensive organizational changes, it is vital to understand the impact that it will have on your staff. As the Founder and CEO of Valorem Change Consultants, Laurence or ‘Larry’ Spring of Schenectady NY, believes that any successful organizational shift—whether it is structure, mission, training, or product-oriented—requires a roadmap to ensure that staff morale remains high.
On a mission to ensure that race, economics, and disability no longer serve as predictors of achievement, Laurence Spring believes that everyone should have the tools they need to succeed. From preparing for the transitions to building a plan that everyone can get on board for, he takes the time to discuss how your business can grow sustainably without overwhelming your staff in the process.
Change is inevitable, and in business, it can allow you to remain agile and competitive. While significant changes can be overwhelming for your team, processing and building with their performance in mind can ensure a successful transition. Spring explains that your staff have duties, tasks, and projects already on their plate, and learning new skills, ways of working, and communicating can leave them feeling overwhelmed. However, by including your team in the brainstorming process, making your goals clear, creating a timeline, providing support, following up, and celebrating small wins, you may be able to get everyone excited about the change.
As a business leader, you already have your finger on the pulse; but when you realize that it is time to adapt, change, or innovate outside of the scope of your current business model, it is important to understand how this will impact your staff.
Laurence Spring explains that depending on the size of your organization, it might be useful to involve department leaders in the process of brainstorming. Not only will this ensure that your decision to move forward is being considered from every angle—and that every opinion is being heard—but it allows those leaders, with expertise in their departments, to share how change will impact their individual staff members.
Make it Clear
During the initial transition stage, everyone needs to be on board. Consider creating a detailed document of what the changes are, who they will impact, and what each department can expect. It might be useful to create a visual graphic or chart to illustrate these organizational changes until they become second nature. Additionally, Laurence Spring suggests keeping your door open for any employee who might have concerns or questions during this time.
Your employees are easily the most important resource your business has, and being able to support them will not only ensure a smooth transition but it will also allow them to easily communicate this change with clients and customers.
Organizational changes can happen over the duration of a month or a year—it all depends on what the scope of the changes are. Building a common sense timeline will allow your staff to understand how it will impact them—and whether those expectations are reasonable. Laurence Spring provides a simple example: “If your company has upgraded its software program, create a timeline that includes planning, training, installation, and time to adapt. An effective timeline will allow for employee training before the change is fully implemented.”
When you implement new changes on a large scale, there will always be hiccups, mistakes, and adjustments that need to be made. One of the keys to remaining agile is not being blind to these areas of friction. If you do not already have one, create a communication plan between departments and employees that allows them to provide honest—possibly anonymous—feedback.
Setting aside time in the planning process to address any concerns is vital to implementing lasting change.
Your organization has likely made dozens of changes over the years and measuring success can help you understand what worked and what did not. Laurence Spring suggests following up with your employees, sending out surveys periodically and once the change has been fully implemented.
Consider asking: What did you enjoy the most? What would you have changed? Did the process feel overwhelming? How would you make it more enjoyable? Understanding the pain points of your transition can strengthen your future strategies.
“Never underestimate the value of celebrating success” explains Spring. Celebrating success will not only motivate and drive your team to be more productive, but it helps to build momentum in what can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way, so take time to reflect, send a celebratory message to the team, or personally thank someone for their efforts. The way you and your team handle success and failure will set the tone for workplace culture.
Investing in the growth and success of workers is a great way to ensure that all changes leave a positive impression on staff members.