How to Coach Your Team Through Organizational Change

It has been said that the only people who enjoy change are babies with wet diapers. Every manager understands this adage, knowing just how difficult it can be to help their team navigate change.  Use these strategies to coach your group through your next organizational change.

Commit To Transparency

When leaders and managers spend weeks in the conference room behind closed doors, it makes people nervous. They begin to speculate, they take bits and pieces of conversations they overhear and get the gossip mill running, and before long everyone is in a panic. The sooner you let your team know that something is coming down the pike, the better. Openness and transparency can help assuage fear and replace fact and positive information with rumor and negative feelings.

“At CSS, we are developing and launching a new intranet using Office 365.  We are thrilled to take our internal communication and change management to a new level!” Says Sharon Tsao, CMO, CSS.

Focus On “Why” And “How”

When communicating change, the worst thing managers can possibly do is stand in front of the group, announce the change, then close the conversation. People instinctively want to know why a policy, procedure or organizational structure is changing. Explaining the logic behind the change will help them embrace it.

It is also critical to focus on the “how,” aspects of change. If training is necessary, roll out the schedule for them so they know what to expect. Additionally, focus on explaining the ways in which their jobs will be positively impacted by the change. Will it make them more efficient? Will it cut down on paperwork? Improve customer relations? Outline how the change will benefit them, to reduce resistance.

Allow Employees To Ask Questions, Then Listen

Make time to allow employees ask the questions they have about change. Listen to them as they air their concerns. Address their fears with a focus on benefits and if you don’t know the answer to a question, tell them you will find the answer as quickly as possible. When employees feel they are being listened to, it can make a world of difference in terms of how quickly they buy in to change.

Set Goals For Adoption Of The Change

It’s one thing to let employees air their feelings, but it is quite another to mislead them into thinking they can ignore the change.  To get everyone moving in the same direction, set out a timetable and goals for total adoption of the change. Make sure everyone receives a hard copy of the goals as well as an email copy, and revisit progress regularly in both team meetings and individual one-on-ones.

Identify And Use Early Adopters To Achieve Buy-In

Not everyone will push back against change. Try to identify people who have embraced the change early, and enlist their help. They may act as a peer trainer, they might be asked to send out (manager-approved) emails promoting the ways the change has helped them, or they might be asked to comment during team meetings. Peers can have much stronger influence than managers, and building your “cheering section” early can help acceptance spread organically.

The right leaders can make a big difference in the way your organization manages change.  If you are looking to attract the top call center and administrative staff in your market, contact the recruiters at CSS today.