How can I keep the staff I have left motivated?
A transformational change such as restructuring is bound to have a big effect on most employees, creating insecurities in terms of loss of jobs, responsibilities and status. For the manager trying to implement organisational changes, there are three key words to focus on; communication, communication and communication.
We know that individuals react differently to change but all employees will want to know the what, when and why of the changes. Questions will be running through everyone’s mind. What will it mean to me? When will it happen? Why fix what’s not broken? t is of paramount importance to keep all employees in the loop from the beginning through regular meetings, emails and the company intranet.
It is equally important to let employees know if there is nothing to report for the time being. the idiom ‘no news is good news’ does not always hold strong at times of change. If employees do not hear anything they will start inventing their own stories and rumours can spread through a company like wildfire. You can quash gossip pretty easily by being open and honest – even if there is nothing to tell, let them know.
It is also important to communicate changes from the cultural perspective. It is well documented that shared meanings can be created from social interactions so it is important to keep these positive. Try to weave stories and rituals into the social fabric of the organisation which reflect the new strategic direction.
This may involve some changes in attitudes. When two companies merge the culture inevitable changes. Stories about how ‘they’ allow ‘them’ to take their dog to work illustrate the need to carefully integrate different cultures at times of change.
The everyday processes and routines that people have been used to for years may also need to change and some people may not like or accept this. If staff members are used to being allowed to take customers out for champagne lunches without being questioned, you need to make them feel part of the change process and participate in recreating a new culture rather than having their toys taken away from them.
To sum up, however people cope with change, keeping people involved in the change process will help motivate them and keep them committed to the future strategic direction of the organisation. The important thing for all managers is to communicate, communicate and, once again, communicate. That involves listening and acting as well as telling.
Deborah Roberts is an independent Learning and Development Consultant with 12 years global project management experience with a blue chip organisation.