All companies experience the pressures of change & crisis, it’s a natural part of any companies story. Managing employees through these periods can be a struggle, as keeping up morale and ensuring a smooth workflow is maintained is often difficult, as employees can quickly devolve into uncertainty. The rumour mill begins, speculation and gossip swells, and staff anxiety can lead to a tense insecure working environment with workflow ground to a halt.
So how do you buckle down, nix the whispers and keep everyone on track during trying times?
Read on to find out how to effectively manage your people through the types of change or crisis that can crop up in business.
Humans love consistency and resist change, so even neutral news such as a change in structure or procedure can be enough to kick-start your employees spiral into negativity.
You can handle this by positively discussing the changes in advance, giving as much information as you are able to. You may even be able use case studies or other information to show how it will benefit the team.
Employees respond to management confidence levels, so by maintaining an upbeat, forward thinking mindset when discussing the upcoming changes you can nip negativity in the bud early on.
The rumble of uncertainty is in the air but no one, not even you, knows exactly what’s going on.
As most damage is done by not addressing the problem, the best thing to do is be honest.
If you can confidently squash any unfounded fears then do it now. Even If all you can do is be honest about your lack of knowledge you are showing your transparency to the team. Assure them you will be keeping them in the loop as information becomes available.
Give them an idea of when you will be able to update them and ask that they come to you with any concerns, doing this can help stop gossip as you can give them a feeling of the situation being handled, and confidence that their concerns are being listened to.
It may be worth letting the decision makers know the general feeling on the floor. Advise that rumours are making their way around and that it would be beneficial to the operation of the company if details could be provided to improve trust and communication.
The word has finally been handed down. A round of layoffs is scheduled or the business is closing down.
The only way forward is to bite the bullet and tell your staff as soon as possible. It is much better that they receive the information from you as it is, clearly laid out instead of the news filtering down through a confusing round of Chinese whispers.
Show respect for your people by telling them the situation. This will allow them to move through their emotions and start taking necessary actions. They will most likely respond to your professionalism in turn, by completing tasks that need to be done without the cloud of uncertainty hanging over their heads. Through all these types of changes one thing becomes clear. Uncertainty and speculation are paralyzing to a business and are the chief reason workflow stalls during these difficult times.
Good management through change and crisis isn’t always easy but your staff will look to you to be a beacon of information, professionalism, and support. Being as open as you can, as soon as you are able is the only way to move forward and assist the team in maintaining a positive workflow.
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