DOES A BIG CHANGE At WORK = BIG IMPACT ON EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT LEVELS?
Unfortunately yes - a big change at work will inevitably have big impact on employee engagement. Work, generally speaking, has a massive impact on the quality of our lives so when a BIG change comes along, it can have ramifications in many areas of our lives...
We invest a heap of time and (hopefully) energy into our professional lives - dedicating hours upon hours to it, forming friendships, developing routines and learning new skills. Work shapes our lives really, and in an ideal world, we will accomplish both our professional goals and personal aspirations, at our chosen organisation.
Not only do we invest so much time and energy into our jobs, but some employees often make huge life changing sacrifices for their careers. So when a ‘BIG’ change comes along, be it organisational restructuring, redundancies, changes in management or processes or a global pandemic like COVID-19 (sorry to bring it up... again) - To say it can be unsettling, would be putting it mildly!
We all know that change is inevitable and can often be felt as a very unsettling part of life, but change can often be necessary to make sure we can adapt, grow, survive and ultimately, thrive.
But at this point, it’s really important to remember that your people will be at the heart of this change - remember their investment, their sacrifices and their plans! It’s only natural that employees are going to feel a little, if not hugely anxious, about how the changes are going to affect them.
THINGS YOUR EMPLOYEES MIGHT BE WORRIED ABOUT DURING 'CHANGE':
- Job security – Is my position under threat? Are the rest of my team safe?
- Loss of income – How will a withdrawal of annual bonuses/cancellation of pay rises affect my plans?
- New processes – How will my department be affected by the change? Will training be provided?
- Leadership uncertainty – Who do I report to now, and how will this impact my role?
- New responsibilities – How will my schedule change, where can I get support, and what are my new targets?
- Communication and acknowledgement – Will my input and feedback be taken on board?
- Recognition - Are my contributions noticed and important to the business?
- The future of the business – What are the core reasons for these changes? Is this a red herring for more significant company transformations?
These are just a few of the natural anxieties you'll need to carefully and tactfully address for your employees. How you engage, communicate and guide your employees now and through these times of change, will have a huge impact on their morale, levels of commitment and of course, their performance levels.
Transitions can be turbulent, and managing them is an unenviable task. But, with the right support, your team can and should bounce back. To help your employees successfully adjust and remain productive and engaged after a big company change, we've put together some helpful tips to ultimately boost their engagement.
So... what steps can you take to give your engagement a boost after a period of change? Let's take 5 for now:
1. INVOLVE YOUR EMPLOYEES
Involving employees in the change is ideal but like employee engagement, there’s never a bad time to start - getting employees involved gets them invested.
Communicate with them regularly, listen to their concerns and treat difficult situations with empathy and consideration. Show employees they are valued as much as you can.
2. Highlight the importance of SELF CARE and be supportive
Undoubtedly, change has can leave some feeling a little frazzled. Perhaps there are new workloads to tackle, new software to master, and new colleagues and leaders to get acquainted with. All these things – especially when coming at you simultaneously – can be a little overwhelming.
Prioritising mental health and physical wellbeing will help your employees to handle their new environment with a more positive and proactive outlook.
Encouraging a healthy work-life balance and offering an effective support network will go a long way to reducing stress and keeping your team engaged.
Caring company cultures have higher rates of retention – something you really want to focus on after actioning any significant company changes. By investing in something like Sodexo's Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which offers confidential mental health support from accredited counsellors, your employees will be better equipped to deal with work and life's inevitable shake-ups.
Don't forget that physical wellbeing also impacts performance - For example, offering flexible working hours so that employees can attend their favourite gym class or go for a lunchtime jog will help to keep them refreshed and energised. Let your team know that taking adequate lunch breaks, going home on time, and engaging in hobbies and physical activities that inspire and motivate them is encouraged and supported by your organisation.
3. PROVIDE ACCESS TO TRAINING
Set your employees up for success by providing them with the right training opportunities. Change can often means the introduction of new systems, tools, or processes. It's a lot to take in.
Reassure your employees that they play an essential role in your vision for the company's future by empowering them with the knowledge and skills to embrace and thrive in their new setup.
Great learning can happen through:
- Online courses or training resources,
- An in-house mentorship programme,
- Formalised personal development schedules,
- Opportunities to attend industry events.
These initiatives will quash any anxieties or gossip about where the proverbial axe may fall next. When your employees notice that you're dedicated to upskilling and improving their capabilities, they will feel confident and engaged in their roles – even if those roles look a little different now.
Once your team has a handle on all the new protocols, you'll find that the transition moves quickly and that your business is able to resume productivity and profitability faster.
4. RECOGNISE AND REWARD
The ability to adapt is something many employers look for in a candidate's CV. Agile, robust individuals are great assets to any company. However, it's important not to downplay how much you're asking of your employees when you implement new changes in your organisation.
Most transitions will have a few pain points, and it's worth noticing and commending the team players that rise to the challenge, help and support their colleagues, put in extra hours, and show a real commitment to overcoming the inevitable bumps in the road.
On-the-spot recognition will help to keep your staff motivated to continue with the training and adaptation process, so don't hold out on high-fives. And don't keep your praise a secret—commend colleagues in front of their peers. A great way of doing this is through a recognition platform that gives everyone access to the company newsfeed, where exceptional achievements can be showcased.
Retention agreements are another helpful tool in realigning employees with company values after big changes. Instead of promising cash rewards which are impersonal and often undervalued, you can use a retention agreement to demonstrate your commitment to the professional and personal development of your employees. This shows them that you're willing to invest in their future and see them as an integral part of the business.
5. GET MORE SUPPORT
It may sound a little cliché, but you can always count on change...
Inevitably, all businesses undergo transformations – whether in response to industry developments, changes in demand, or the need to improve their market position. How you handle and communicate that change to your employees should always coordinate with the values that have shaped your company culture. Being consistent in how you treat and support your people will help to instil faith in your business for the future and ensure that the adjustments you are making bring the results you desire.
Taking advantage of additional support from experts in employee motivation and engagement, can really help steer you and your employees through the difficult periods and after – it’s what they do! They can help employees get on board with your new vision and make a success of the transformation the company has undertaken.
Sodexo offers help and assistance to businesses across all industries, using our experience and purpose-built tools to support leaders and employees with tailored rewards, recognition schemes, and our highly acclaimed Employee Assistance Programmes. If your company is facing a transformation, get in touch with us today to see how we can help make things as smooth as possible for everyone in your organisation.
READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP and improve your engagement levels?
Would you like to find out more about how we can work with to help improve your employee engagement?
We’d love to see you achieve your goals, so don’t be shy, get in touch for a no-obligation chat and let’s start shaping up a more engaging and rewarding future for your business and employees.
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