Industries of every kind are experiencing upheavals of traditional workplace environments. Between the digital revolution and the ongoing global health crisis, keeping up with change has become an enormous task. As businesses work to adapt and survive in such uncertain times, finding the right ways to support your team is paramount.
A successful business team does not exist without the proper support and resources from the company itself. Empathy, transparency, and clear communication are three key pillars to building a strong team that is resilient and flexible when dealing with change.
Cultural shifts can be difficult for everyone. To thrive in the coming years, businesses must focus on improving the adaptability of their employees. In this article, we will cover 3 crucial ways for helping a team overcome the challenges of change.
How Does Change in the Workplace Affect Your Team?
Change in the workplace can have a myriad of negative effects on a business team when the right support is not given. From miscommunications to a general worsening of mental health, the experience of employees depends greatly on the attentiveness of their leadership.
While massive adjustments were already underway due to the rise of technology, the Covid-19 pandemic put the entire process into overdrive in 2020. Companies could no longer embrace digitization at their own pace. Instead, almost every type of business had to reshape their workplaces to accommodate remote working.
Now, in 2021, industries are slowly beginning to recover and adapt. While some things will go back to business as usual, the dynamic of modern workplaces is likely to continue evolving. As it does, paying attention to what your team needs to prosper and maintain a high level of productivity is essential.
Helping Your Team Adapt to Change
Before you can adequately help your team adapt to change, understanding their expectations and needs is key.
Monster recently released new research entitled the Future of Work 2021 Global Outlook Special Report. In this report, they identified 5 key expectations of employees for their employers in the coming years:
- Flexible work schedules
- Salary protection
- Health policies and protocols
- Training staff on the new ways of working
- Shifting to more remote work environments
With these expectations in mind, let’s examine 3 key components to creating a strong plan for your team’s success during times of change:
1. Approach Your Team with Empathy
An empathetic approach is needed in times of uncertainty. To approach your team with empathy, you should:
- Encourage Wellness and Self-Care: Dealing with change in the workplace may drive some employees to overcompensate for dips in productivity by overworking. As a result, encouraging your team to set clear boundaries, working hours, and times for personal care are highly necessary.
- Acknowledge Employee Individuality: Every member of your team will respond to change differently than the next. Understanding that the degree of resistance you encounter will vary depending on the person’s personality and preferences will help you foster a stronger working environment.
- Provide Scheduling Flexibility: Working from home or hybrid work environments can affect the hours a person can work. Where possible, providing flexibility by allowing your team to choose their own hours and build their full-time schedule around their needs can be massively beneficial.
2. Offer Honest and Compelling Transparency
When introducing new changes to a workplace, it is important to set an honest, positive, and compelling narrative. This narrative should offer transparency around why the change is happening and how it will be carried out.
Creating a compelling and transparent narrative requires:
- Prioritizing Optimism: It is easy for negative mindsets and attitudes to spring up during times of change. To prioritize optimism, the key is to lead by example. Mindfulness towards your own attitude and how you present to your team is needed to achieve a positive outlook.
- Plainly Explaining New Plans and Strategies: Changing the workplace can be confusing and even frustrating if your team feels out of the loop. Clearly explaining why and how your workplace will be altered will help people adjust.
- Establishing Collaborative Objectives: Staying connected through collaboration will help your team feel more supported by their peers as well as by their leadership. Collaborative opportunities also help avoid the creation of departmental barriers that are harmful to innovation.
3. Maintain Clear and Consistent Communication
Communication is key – this is the golden rule to everything. Without clear and consistent communication, a business team can easily succumb to the pressures and challenges of change.
To ensure communication is accurate and open, you need to:
- Contact Employees at All Levels: No employee should feel that they are too low-level to express their needs to business leadership. A team that feels empowered and valued will ultimately put forth more effort towards innovation and productivity.
- Maintain Clear Expectations for Management: A support strategy is only as good as it is followed. Setting clear expectations for your management teams and encouraging the use of empathetic methods are critically important.
- Make Yourself Regularly Available: As a business leader, you are one of the most important players for each of your employees. Making yourself accessible by setting aside time for one-on-one meetings and feedback sessions is a great way for your team to feel directly supported.
Change is inevitable, but your level of preparedness is up to you.
When facing shifts in your industry and business, it is crucial to focus on helping your team adequately deal with change. To do so, you must prioritize an empathetic approach, a transparent narrative, and clear communication.
With these three methods as the pillars to your support strategy, your team is sure to thrive no matter what new challenges are thrown their way.