It’s one thing for you as the business owner to declare that a change is necessary. It’s another thing entirely to get your team on board. How to get employees to accept change? If your people are unable to adapt, your progress grinds to halt.
If your company is going to succeed over the long term, it has to be able to adapt to ever-evolving market conditions, competition, regulations…the list goes on and on.
Do you ever wonder how to get employees to accept change like:
- Doing what they once perceived as “other people’s jobs”
- Doing more work with less staff
- Reorganization or restructure
- New supervisor
- Physical relocation
- A new procedure or process
How to get employees to accept change is one of the most important skills a business leader can master.
Follow these guidelines to help your team accept and even embrace the changes you ask them to make…
- Start with trust. You’ve likely built-up trust within your team by navigating the small day-to-day changes that take place. Use this to your advantage. Let them know you have their best interest at heart. People want to know that you are on their side. This will create an environment where they’re more likely to follow you during times of uncertainty.
- Focus on people’s needs. How to get employees to accept change starts with understanding that everyone deals with change differently. Change can often lead to out-of-character behavior from some of your employees. One of them may seem angry or on edge, while another may shut down such that you no longer see the urgency in their work. Change is both scary and emotional, and expecting and allowing these emotional reactions will help both you and your employees in the long run.
- Understand the five stages of grief. Change always equals the loss of something and whenever a person experiences loss they will go through the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Depression, Search for Solutions, and Acceptance. You can’t skip a stage, but the goal is to get your people through all five stages as quickly as possible. As an owner, you should always be one step ahead of your employees, and be able to help face these issues head on.
- As the leader and probable originator of the change, you’ll have worked through most all of the grief stages. This means you’re in a different stage than most of your people which can cause real conflict. For instance, if you’re at the Acceptance stage, you’ll be acting calm and maybe happy and able to see the benefits of the change. However your employee who’s still in the Anger or Depression stage will hear your calm, happy demeanor as insensitive and out of touch. This means you’ll have to be patient while everyone else works through the stages and meet each person in the stage they’re at.
- Communicate. A Lot.. Helping your team navigate change requires straight-forward communication, and lots of it. Listen to your employees and interact with them based on which stage of grief they may be manifesting. Don’t try to oversell the benefits of change, as this can come across as ingenuine. Encourage your team to express their feelings and allow them to be heard.
When you know how to get employees to accept change, you’re demonstrating strong leadership skills that will help your team move through rough transitions, both big and small.