The business climate is constantly changing due to external as well as internal factors. One of the best and recent examples of external factors is the coronavirus pandemic, due to which employees have been subjected to sudden changes in the way they work. Over a year later, they continue to face ambiguity around the future of work.
But what about the internal factors such as leadership change? A company’s ability to weather changes lies in the durability of its leadership. If the leadership is undergoing a change, the employees may face doubts and fears about their own future. Have you noticed how executives reporting to a senior leader tend to follow suit within days of their leaving an organisation? This is not just limited to the C-suite.
Organisational change can become a significant source of stress even for grassroots employees. This can seriously impede their performance and lead to a dip in overall motivation.
While bringing in new leadership may present fruitful opportunities for the organisation, there needs to be a strategic way to handle the change so that employees can stay motivated.
Here are some tested ways that will help an organisation navigate a change in leadership successfully as well as keep their employees motivated through it all!
Keeping Your Employees Motivated During Leadership Change!
Organisations succeed on the shoulders of leaders who actively take part in helping their teams to adapt to the changes. Below are some useful ways to streamline change management and keep employees motivated whenever there occurs a leadership change in a company:
1. Need for Organisational Restructuring
A change in leadership is likely to echo throughout the company. The management should consider conducting an all-out audit of the various processes to understand if any core change is needed in terms of policies, team structure, etc. A common sight after a leadership change is that some employees quickly follow suit, leaving some empty spaces that need to be filled immediately.
New hires may need to be made or teams need reshuffling. Answering crucial questions such as ‘How can the team become more effective quickly?’ or ‘Are there any gaps existing in the whole process?’ can also prove worthwhile in the long run. This exercise can also go a long way in keeping the doubts of employees at bay as they start to adapt to the new reality.
2. Communicate proactively
A strong communication policy is the ultimate go-to factor in building a motivated team, especially during times of change. It can help employees stay focused and address their concerns about uncertainties related to their future.A strong communication policy is the ultimate go-to factor in building a motivated team, especially during times of change. It can help employees stay focused and address their concerns about uncertainties related to their future. Click To Tweet
Employees should feel completely connected and updated with the changing processes, which will cement their trust further. This is possible only when complete and concrete information is shared with them, right at the onset.
The management needs to adopt an open communication policy and be honest about all the changes. For example, important updates should be cascaded down the hierarchy through the medium of team meetings and emails. The new management should promptly share their vision with the team by taking every employee into confidence. While doing so, steer away from giving out information that may be uncertain or unconfirmed, leading to unnecessary speculation.
3. Address Concerns
Most employees rely on their leaders to guide them through difficult situations at work. It can be extremely unsettling for them to suddenly discover an impending change in leadership and find themselves wondering how to manage their duties in the interim. Obviously, it can impact their motivation quotient profoundly. Therefore, it is crucial to address the concerns of employees who feel insecure about their jobs after the change. This is the right time for HR to be involved since succession planning comes under its purview.
Operations managers need to recognise that an organisational change at the leadership level may impact several people on a personal level as well. Having conversations and offering empathy can go a long way in keeping the teams motivated and preventing turnover.
It is crucial to address the concerns of employees who feel insecure about their jobs after the change. This is the right time for HR to be involved since succession planning comes under its purview.
4. Promote Employee Feedback
It is impossible to cultivate a sense of inclusion amongst employees without providing them with a platform to offer honest and unfiltered feedback. Employees feel the need to be heard, which accentuates even further during unexpected events such as a change in leadership. Management needs to fall back on genuine feedback mechanisms like 360-surveys and/or employee satisfaction surveys to help them stay motivated during the transition.
5. Focus on Their Development
It is not a novel thought that employees who feel engaged at their workplaces perform better than their counterparts. One of the ways of ensuring employee engagement is by investing in growth and development initiatives. Companies that provide training on managing change can expect to do better in employee job satisfaction and retention. This also shows that despite the leadership change, the company is still focused on going forward.
Organising job-related upskilling sessions and job enrichment/mentorship programs can help keep employees motivated. Also, these help in making employees feel more comfortable and less reactive to the changes happening around them.
6. Facilitate Group Learning
Group sessions are a great way to encourage shared learning. It is possible to reach or exceed organisational goals by reminding employees how their individual contributions can help facilitate overall success for the team as a whole.
Data-driven insights are an objective way to reinforce the need for learning. By leveraging employee performance reports available at their disposal, managers can identify one or more outliers and pair them up with Subject Matter Experts/Quality Coaches. This can help shorten their learning curve and boost team performance. In addition, when employees realise that their work is meaningful and can add value to an organisation, they feel more energised to work.
7. Offer Support
A change in the company’s leadership can have a lot of effects that may be felt across departments. The management should adopt an open attitude towards employees and offer the required support at all levels. Open doors of communication for each hierarchy. The key is to plan a seamless handover of responsibilities. New appointments should be announced as quickly as possible and formally introduced to employees so that they can get to know the new leaders.
To conclude, management must be organised and think through the various scenarios that may unfold – from an operational as well as employee satisfaction perspective. This will help them achieve a smooth transition and a quick return to business as usual.