Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

Communicating Change

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Communicating Change

Most change in business is economy driven – whether an opportunity, a problem, or a crisis.  If you’ve managed a change in the way works gets done, you know that change can translate to temporary losses in productivity, time, and even staff or customers.  Exactly what and how change is communicated has a big impact on how the change is adopted.  And you want success!

While change definitely gets the headline, the hard part of managing change is making an effective transition to the new reality and new expectations.  Your communication will either support the change and the transition or create more resistance and barriers to the change.

Before You Communicate Consider:

  1. What’s in it for the people you are communicating to and other stakeholders?
  2. What can you tell them about the future? The Big picture/Vision.
  3. What can’t you tell them, why you can’t and when you will be able to tell them? Not
    everything will be known at the onset. How will you keep them informed?
  4. What needs to be done and when does it need to happen? (Goals, Timeframe, Actions)

When you Communicate:

  • Ask open questions that invite a thoughtful, specific response.  What questions do you have? Any concerns about the timeframe? How do you think customers will respond? Where do you think this will create the most challenge? How would you like to handle this part of the process?
  • Listen and respond to both facts and any individual concerns/fears.
  • Each time you discuss the change balance the communication by linking it back to: its
    purpose, the big picture, the plan, and the parts everyone will play.
  • As the change proceeds, announce progress…those first few steps are the path to
    the future.

Tip

When things are changing, increase communication!  There may be resistance to losing an old way and identity, fear associated with a new beginning (will I succeed?), and the disorientation that’s a natural part of transition. People may agree with the change, but personal transition is needed.  Keep acknowledging facts, respond to questions, provide reassurance.  In today’s market, be a change leader!

Workplace Resolutions

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

January 5 will see many employees returning to work after enjoying some well deserved time off with family and friends. They will have shed a lot of the stresses of the previous year and be well rested and ready to begin anew.  Some may quickly realize that the stresses of last year are still there, and like stepping into an old pair of shoes, things aren’t off to a good start. What wasn’t working last year? What caused those stresses? They may have forgotten over the winter vacation, but they’ll remember upon returning to work. There’s a window of opportunity in January, when many performance plans are set, to chart a course for improvement and changing work day habits.  

Personal resolutions don’t last without continued focus and support, but the workplace can be an excellent environment for change, through structure, feedback and check-ins. Scan the horizon to see what’s coming to mind as you read this. Yes, you’ll be setting new performance plans this month, but get your employees thinking along lines of what they’d like to improve and change.

Have them form one or two behavioural goals they’d like to focus on, then discuss what they envision as success. A solid performing employee who enjoys their work and is exceeding their objectives may be consistently working additional hours and they realize it’s affecting their home life. You have as much to gain by supporting them to make some adjustments to ensure their work/life balance is in check. This is only one example. Meet with employees in January and ask them what they’d like to improve to be more effective. You’ll get a variety of answers and that’s the beauty of understanding the individual needs of your staff. You need to ask and listen.  

Offer your support, guidance, and keep the communication channels open so they can raise this with you at anytime. 

Tip

Leaders that take an interest in the development and personal success of employees are on the right path; well, the only path when you think in terms of retention, employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and providing a healthy work environment where people can flourish. Who wins? Each individual, you, and your business.

Marketplace Turmoil

Friday, November 21st, 2008

We’re in the midst of far-reaching economic uncertainty and that brings forth concern and raises fear for many employees. If it’s not the daily discussions are about which jobs are considered “safe” and which jobs and industries will be impacted, your valued employees are looking at their RRSP statement or the TSX numbers, and that’s not comforting.

To be productive and focus on the work at hand, employees need a feeling of stability and direction. Meet regularly and keep employees involved as to your organization’s objectives and where you foresee changes to current objectives. To be impactful, employees must know where to focus their work efforts.  Shifting some duties and tasks may be necessary to ensure close alignment with any changing objectives. Once employees have this core information, they will understand the need for the changes, and they will have ideas that can support the organization; keep them involved and engaged.

To mitigate fear, communicate openly with staff. From an employee perspective “no news is bad news”. Withholding information may also hamper your ability to retain high performers who make their own conclusions and considering moving to an organization that looks more stable.

Should job losses be a consequence of the downturn, provide supportive outplacement services to bridge employees to new employment. This can take the form of individual and/or group sessions to support exiting employees with tools to plan and implement their job search.  It’s a win-win to provide exiting employees with support. Remaining staff will see their employer “doing the right thing”; and, you may look to rehiring exiting employees in the future once we’re through this downturn. 

Try This

Focus energy and efforts on these core elements:

  1. Employee Retention: Recognize solid performance; be transparent about your organization’s objectives and concerns; show flexibility in responding to employee requests; continue career development; listen to staff input.
  2. Productivity: take stock of employee performance and develop clear timelined goals; manage poor performance – this is not the time for less than ideal performance; tighten up what is not working. Employees, as partners, have a vested interest in maintaining a high level of productivity.
  3. Customer Satisfaction: Do all staff understand the heightened need to differentiate your services from your competitors? Revisit customer needs and refresh service delivery processes and competencies.