Navigating rapid change
4th May 2020
Navigating a pandemic was unlikely to be part of your business’s continuity plan. Corporate leaders now have the daunting task of creating a plan for their workplaces, while sifting through the volume of information and ever-changing recommendations on how to find a new normal.
How companies react right now will impact on their long-term success. We don’t have the luxury of implementing changes gradually. What’s needed instead is strong leadership, forward-thinking and rapid action. Although organisational change can be daunting, taking the right actions now will help you to manage the transition, while maintaining the trust and confidence of your employees.
Here are five things to consider when navigating rapid change:
1. Set the course
Employees have likely already accepted that things will be different when they return to work, with new practices in place. They will also expect the workplace to be clean and safe. Creating a change management roadmap will help generate awareness and implement changes thoughtfully. Consider assistance from outside experts if your team is unfamiliar with creating change management plans.
2. Nominate your Change Agents
Finding the right person to help coordinate and rally your workforce is a critical part of a successful change programme. Whether you call them agents, champions, or ambassadors these people are your cheerleaders. They will help you spread the message about the proposed changes and rally the workforce to embrace and accept them. It’s up to you to decide how you go about this. Giving them a defined purpose and empowering them with information will assist them to achieve their goals.
The right person for this role could be someone mid to senior level. They will need to be positive and a natural leader. However, don’t overlook someone in an administrative support role who could also hold the necessary attributes and skills.
3. Provide honest and consistent communication
While everyone is expecting there to be adjustments made when they return to the office, there may be differing degrees of expectation. It’s critical to set expectations by providing clear and consistent communication on how and when to use the workplace.
Decide on a communication plan before staff return to the office. This should formally define who is sending information, when the information is being delivered, and how often. Transparency and consistency will be key in establishing trust and reassurance that the workplace is safe and clean.
4. Mobilise the people impacted
As a corporate leader, you will set the direction, take action, and mobilise your team. Being open and collaborative in your approach helps to build trust. Encourage employees to share ideas and offer feedback before and after returning to work. When people feel empowered to problem-solve as a team, new solutions can often be found.
5. Remain flexible and responsive
Enforcing workplace changes while reacting to new information and recommendations may be a constant battle going forward. Good leaders will remain flexible but also convince their teams to approach the situation with the same attitude. Leaders who are honest and open about their uncertainties, and who can admit that they don’t have all the answers, are often the most trusted and respected. Whereas hiding feelings can lead to tensions. Communication is key, so let your team know that when new information is available, you will remain transparent, flexible, and responsive. Good leaders will remain understanding yet decisive and confident in their approach.
In times of rapid change strong leadership is necessary to navigate uncertainty. A well thought out change roadmap will help you to stay the course. MovePlan supports companies with the challenge of change in the workplace. We help business redefine their success strategies to meet the needs of an evolving workplace.
Read more about MovePlan’s Return to Work Critical Support service