Free flowing communication boosts morale during times of change
The value of keeping staff informed and educated should not be ignored, particularly during times of change.
It is easy for management and key stakeholders to ‘retreat’ and avoid discussions during periods of change in the workplace. Keeping your employees in the dark will only lead to surmising, jumping to conclusions and gossip, all of which is counterproductive.
Having conversations, even though they may be uncomfortable, are necessary for change to take place and to move forward. How you handle difficult conversations can influence whether employees embrace the change, or at least begin to accept the changes that are to come, or whether they choose to resist.
Updating staff and showing an air of transparency will make your people feel involved and have more trust in the process. Hold regular meetings to educate staff on the progress of change, answer staff questions and clarify any points of confusion.
Likewise, listening and showing understanding will help members of the team work through organisational change. In many instances, employees will simply want to be heard in a non-judgemental way. People feel valued when they feel they have been heard. Often with organisational change, the outcome may be predetermined, however, employees will still want to discuss their thoughts, feelings and opinions.
People react to change in different ways. It is essential to show that you are willing to understand individuals’ thoughts, feelings, values and emotions and to show that you acknowledge them with respect. Encourage participants to bring ‘solutions based’ alternatives. Acknowledge differences of opinion and look at each option or alternative in a pragmatic way, considering the final organisational goals.
Keeping the lines of communication open, and having an ‘open door’ policy will foster trust and confidence. Likewise, having regular ‘check-ins’ with staff and asking for regular feedback will not only make them feel involved but may also highlight issues that you otherwise would not have known existed. It may bring to light opportunities that had not been considered.
How you respond and react during the process is equally, if not more so, important. Checking your own reactions to change can influence how successfully you manage the process with your staff. Are your own attitudes and reactions to change impacting those around you in a positive or negative way? It’s always good to take a little time for some introspection and get in touch with your own feelings about the situation at hand before jumping in and addressing things with your team. Remember communication is both verbal and non-verbal so you may be able to say all the right things and tell your employees and stakeholders what they want to hear, but if you haven’t taken the time to process any of the negative feelings you may have, it will show.
Once you’ve got the communication flowing in a positive way, it’s time to be proactive. All of this great work will be futile unless you walk the talk.
A common complaint employees have about managers is that they are ‘all words and no action’. These managers seem to talk the talk but don’t seem to walk the walk. This can destroy team morale, understanding and connection to the company’s core purpose.
Communication is one of the key topics covered in ASWA’s accredited 10299 NAT Diploma of Wellness, and for good reason. Effective, free flowing communication is imperative in the workplace. It affects workplace and client relationships, profitability, team performance, and employee engagement.
Learn more about the ASWA approach to corporate wellness here.