Organizational changes can be challenging at the best of times. Embarking on a company-wide learning curve can feel overwhelming for everyone involved, so it is vital to instill engagement and excitement from the beginning. Laurence or ‘Larry’ Spring of Schenectady NY, is the Founder and CEO of Valorem Change Consultants. He believes that any organizational change can inspire excitement if done correctly. Helping companies build roadmaps for major changes, he claims that measuring success, making employees feel seen and heard, keeping them in the loop, and helping them to move forward can keep spirits high and ensure a successful transition.
Being able to visually track progress can help employees stay engaged with the process of change. Laurence Spring explains that this can be done virtually or on a physical board — every accomplishment deserves to be tracked and celebrated! Visual cues can help motivate your team to complete a task with more consistency and excitement. Take the paper clip strategy for example. If you begin every morning with two jars on a desk, one filled with 120 paperclips and the other empty, you can use this visual cues to demonstrate progress. Every time you reach a goal or pass a milestone, you can transfer a paperclip from one jar to the other. This is just one of multiple examples that can be implemented to showcase to your team how much progress they are actually making.
Make Them Feel Seen and Heard
Change can feel inherently threatening. Human beings have evolved to notice when anything is out of the ordinary — it is what helps us identify threats and ensure survival. Fears about organizational changes are normal, and communicating with your team can help reduce those fears. While it can be challenging to collect and address feedback and questions from everyone, do your best to keep your door open. Nothing creates frustration and resentment like having your concerns be ignored by management. Laurence Spring explains that creating a safe environment for teams to share their concerns, pain points, and frustrations will help ease them into the transition. He claims that while you cannot address every issue, it is essential to make your team feel like they are being seen and heard.
Keep Your Team in the Loop
Hearing about organizational changes before they are officially announced can feel frustrating for employees. It is important to provide updates as soon as they become available. Speculation can lead to any number of assumptions, and more often than not, than can be detrimental to morale and organizational change. It is natural for people to envision worst case scenarios when there is a lack of information, so try and avoid that possibility by communicating clearly with your team. As many teams are working remotely, it can be useful to post weekly — if not daily — updates on a Slack channel or in team meetings as changes are being made. If you can, engage your team in the decision-making process to help them feel like they helped build the changes themselves rather than having them be imposed upon them.
While some organizational changes can take months and sometimes years to successfully implement, securing success often requires executing change in a quick and timely manner. Planning should almost always take more time than the execution itself. Laurence Spring explains that when transitional periods take months or years to implement, teams can feel overwhelmed, overburdened, and unmotivated to continue. It might be useful to break changes up into small, more digestible groups to maintain motivation over the long-term.
If you are still unsure how to maintain morale and excitement during a transitionary period in your organization, you might consider working with a professional. With decades of leadership and management experience, Laurence Spring has helped multiple teams implement successful changes with enthusiasm, support, and excitement from employees.