How do you manage changes that have a direct impact on employees? It may seem simple, but you talk to them about it. Ask them about the problems they are facing. Bounce ideas that you have off of them. Give them time to reflect and give you feedback. These simple things can make all the difference in taking on change management and getting employees to buy into those changes.
Asking employees about the challenges they face can be a daunting challenge. The reason most managers are afraid to ask them is that they are scared of the answers. What if the employee says you are the problem? What if the employee uncovers issues you didn’t even know existed? That shouldn’t matter, what should matter is finding the correct answer. To do that, you need different perspectives that see the situation, and there is no better perspective than the person dealing with it.
The best coaches ask their athletes what they are seeing on the field and incorporate it into their adjustments. Managers need to do the same. Ask your employees about the problems they see, then include their insights into your process.
Tell Them Your Ideas
Before implementing changes, get feedback from your employees on your plan. Employees will be able to see the impact of the proposal easier than you can. Give them the chance to review your changes and incorporate their feedback on them. Remember the goal is to find the best answer, not to push through your solution.
Give Employees a Chance to Reflect
When you ask for employee’s feedback, give them time to think about it. Their first reaction can often be defensive, but their insights will be more insightful when given a chance to process your plan. So, if you are planning on holding a meeting to roll out your ideas. Do a short session to explain your idea and do not take feedback yet. Schedule a follow-up meeting in a day or two for people to respond.
Another great way to get feedback is to avoid meetings altogether. Create a document that outlines your plan clearly and post it somewhere that everyone can see, either digitally or on a wall in the office. Then ask them to post their feedback to the proposal over the following week. You will give people the chance to do some deep thinking on your plan, and it will produce better answers and feedback.
Bring in Change Management Consultants
If you are concerned that your employees won’t give open and honest feedback to you, then don’t worry, you are not alone. Many employees are hesitant to provide negative feedback to their boss. In this situation, bring in an employee-focused change management consultant like Darby Creek Consulting to facilitate the conversation. Employees can be more willing to tell an outsider what is happening, which will lead to better outcomes for the company. The outside consultant can also facilitate change, so employees feel comfortable providing feedback to their boss in the future.
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