People by nature are reluctant to change. Both personally and professionally, there seems to almost always be a level of angst accompanying the word “change”. We’re set in our ways, we know what’s expected of us and, more than anything, we’ve developed a level of comfort that we don’t want to deviate from. So when it comes to a major change at your company such as a merger or acquisition, how can you alleviate this fear in the workplace and instill within your employees the notion that change is a good thing?
Involve your staff in the change as much as possible. If they feel they play a significant part in the transition, they’re much more likely to buy into it and feel energized to help. Conversely, if they feel shut out and oblivious to what is happening, they might begin to wonder if and how the future plans include them. Don’t feel like you have to divulge all of the information (because there are still some things that should remain behind closed doors) but keep them apprised of any updates and ask for their support as much as possible.
With change comes opportunity. Get employees excited around the opportunities that the upcoming changes could present. Especially if they have been with the company for a while, they’ll likely be looking for something to re-energize them and keep their job fresh. This could be that time. Whether it means that new positions could open up or roles and responsibilities may vary, employees will appreciate the challenge awaiting them and look forward to what lies ahead.
Be upfront and honest. When it comes to change, nobody likes surprises. Regardless of level, accomplishments or stature at the company, employees are going to have some thoughts of “what does this mean for me” when a major change occurs. Be sure to let them know what to expect – both positive and negative. It’s human nature to wait for the “but…” following a piece of positive news so let them know of both the pros and the cons so they don’t try to conjure up negative thoughts of their own. In all likelihood, any negativity associated with the transition is not going to be nearly as bad as what some employees might think of.
Finally, have some fun with it. The more positive energy they see coming from you, the more they’ll gain a positive feeling about the change and ease any concerns. So put on your best happy face and enjoy the ride!