You can’t force workers to go along with major changes in a process. From ignoring training to wasting time complaining to trying to find shortcuts, employees who do not agree with the new process will effectively prevent it from working. Even worse, since most changes have little hiccups, the process will need a few employees to really go the extra mile to help make it come together. A common estimate says that major changes will require at least 25% of employees to put in extra effort during the transition.
Here are some tips to get 25% onboard and the remaining 75% at least to stay out of the way:
- Focus on results, not on details.
Employees will not appreciate, or care about, change for change’s sake. Instead of saying that “This is the way we do things,” and focusing on the details of how that change will happen, say, “This is what we can achieve and here is one way we can do it.” This can head off a lot of complaints, as employees will think not about ways to avoid the new changes, but about alternative ways to achieve the same results. They will also understand it is important for the company to accept the changes.
- Meetings at different stages.
Instead of springing a plan on your employees, involve them from the beginning. Hold meetings for several stages of the process, from the earliest estimation of ideal efficiency all the way through to the implementation of a completed plan.
- Involvement of top management.
The involvement of top management communicates that the changes are important. If top management shows they care, it will inspire more employees to take the changes seriously.
- Developing accountability.
If employees make suggestions or engage with certain changes, make them responsible for the changes. This will include acknowledging successes just as well as discussing failures. If employees feel that they will be able to put effective efficiency improvements on their resumes, then they will be more motivated to make the changes work.
- Create benchmarks.
All-or-nothing result measurements can be discouraging. Instead, create benchmarks to show how well the changes are going. Let employees know which benchmarks have been achieved and congratulate the employees most responsible for achieving them.
- Don’t overemphasize urgency.
A very common mistake among managers is trying to motivate employees through negativity, by telling them that the company will collapse and they will end up unemployed if efficiency does not improve. Instead, always ensure to focus on the positives of change so the employees have something to look forward to gaining, instead of looking back on something they’re losing.Employees who care too much will be burned out by the worry. Employees who barely care at all will soon see through any exaggeration. If the changes take longer than expected, but the company still does fine, management will lose credibility. Honesty and positivity build lasting engagement much better than scare tactics.