“How can I get my employees to try new things?” – Question submitted by Gilbert, Chandler, AZ
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a new or improved concept was rolled out to employees and they were immediately excited about it? But how often does that happen? Here are some change management strategies to get you moving in the right direction.
By Niki Ramirez, MBA/PHR
Here’s the thing… You’re a manager, a leader. Congratulations! Chances are you’re pretty excited about the new strategy/initiative the company is rolling out, right? So shouldn’t your employees just follow your lead? If only it was that simple. Here are a few key things to remember when you’re preparing to roll out a new program, product, initiative or strategy:
1) If your employees were not involved in the process of developing the “new thing”, they may be wary about it entirely. This can lead to outright resistance when it’s time to implement.
– Consider this: There are strategies for involving employees at each and every stage of program development; it just takes work and attention. This is not to say you allow them to make all the decisions or call the shots. It just means they have a proper place at the table during development.
-Investing time in your employees when it comes to development of new “things” will pay dividends. Employees sell new concepts to other employees when they feel engaged in the process. Employees who are involved are also more educated about the organization. When you have educated employees their knowledge will trickle out to the rest of the workforce in a positive way.
– Employees are the gate keepers of most businesses. Remember: employees have the most frequent and meaningful contact with customers. Keep this in mind as you consider designing new programs and strategies. Your employees KNOW what your customers say, think, feel, and want. Include them in the process.
2) If your employees were not informed that “it” was coming, the element of surprise may slow implementation.
– Consider this: I generally recommend leaders introduce upcoming changes in manageable bits and pieces. Employees don’t need to know everything all of the time and you certainly don’t want them to have too much information before you’re ready – that might put a wrench in the works all together. But I do recommend breaking it down and communicating often with employees about new ideas, potential developments, and programs.
– Even in business, employees can experience that “fight or flight” reaction when presented with new ideas. Human beings just naturally have a hard time with change; it can feel threatening and unsafe, even when in the end it will be a good thing. Give them a heads up and soften the blow.
– When you’re sharing these little tidbits with your people, ensure the message is concise and positive; make it fun. Provide employees with a way to ask questions in response to these announcements.
3) Be inspiring.
– Consider this: Nobody really wants to follow a leader who doesn’t inspire them. Ho-hum doesn’t get results. Employees won’t listen and certainly don’t feel compelled to ACT unless they are inspired.
– Leaders must communicate with some excitement; exude confidence in the new strategy/program and project positivity. For the leader, this can prove tiring, I’ll be the first to admit it – but in the end, when all of the wheels are turning and things are going well, it’ll be a result of this personal investment!
Remember: Inspiring leaders can get folks to follow them into the most difficult situation; even when failure seems inevitable. In short, you want people to change with and for you: involve, inform them and inspire them. It’s the only way.
There are a million different change management strategies you can employ that may help meet your needs, and focusing on the ideas above will give you the boost you need to be successful!
I’ve got to admit a little secret: I’m addicted to change. Need a little help to get started with a change initiative at your business? Contact me and let’s chat.
About the author: Niki Ramirez is a seasoned professional consultant and coach with a knack for engaging business leaders. She has a successful track record partnering with a wide variety of organizations to analyze current human resources and business operations with the objective of designing cost-effective HR, training, and employee relations programs that help every organizations exceed their goals.
Maybe most importantly, Niki is the proud momma to three strikingly intelligent, gorgeous, funny kids. She loves to horseback ride and get outside to hike and explore the world every spare minute that she has.