As we kick off 2024, it’s apparent that macroeconomic factors such as high interest rates and economic uncertainty will continue to pose challenging times for businesses and individuals alike.
The likely outcome is that some things will need to change in your business: the strategic plan may need an overhaul, the allocation of resources (including people) may need to change, and you may expect that your teams will be under increasing pressure – on both personal and professional levels.
As a business or team leader, there are some key things you can keep in mind, to better manage these unavoidable periods of change:
- So far as is possible – plan ahead. Think about how workplace changes will impact your employees and what the business may be able to do to mitigate the impact to employees. If it’s inevitable that the business needs to restructure and some roles will become genuinely redundant, then ensure you have a well thought out redundancy process. This includes ensuring that your redundancy plan and timeline is in line with legislative requirements and that you have a solid communication plan that considers both impacted and non-impacted employees.
- Revert back to your Company Values and workplace culture – these are likely to become an even more important ‘guiding light’ as people are more likely to experience some form of tension in the workplace. Consider your current company values – can there be a greater emphasis on adaptability and resilience to help through inevitably challenging and changing times.
- Effective communication – Clear and transparent communication is the cornerstone of successful change management.Involve employees and engage them in any change processes; seek their input and listen to concerns. Be transparent about the reasons behind proposed changes. When tough decisions need to be made, be open about the expected impact on employees, and the benefits in a way that is easily understandable. Regular updates through various channels, such as town hall meetings, newsletters, and one-on-one discussions – more than keeping everyone informed, it builds trust.
- Additional support and resources – consider whether you can implement new initiatives to better support employees during times of stress and uncertainty. You can get creative with what works best for your workforce and industry, and these don’t always have to involve a big spend to the business. The below initiatives are just some ways that can go a long way to build employee engagement, personal satisfaction, security and confidence.
- Learning and Development training sessions on both technical and soft skills (such as conflict management, improving communication strategy) – this can involve external training but also consider whether your teams can share their knowledge and expertise internally and within other areas of the business.
- Employee Assistance Programs or other counselling support
- Mentoring programs – these can be run in-house and can be so beneficial to junior and more senior employees alike, as information and knowledge is shared.
Effectively managing through change requires a strategic and people-centric approach. The cost to your business of not adopting a well-planned and well thought out approach to managing change in your business is too great to ignore – the potential for litigation for poorly managed redundancy processes, decline in productivity from disgruntled and disengaged employees and higher ‘regrettable resignations’ as poorly managed change initiatives negatively impact team culture.
If you want to discuss your people team strategy for 2024, happy to schedule a complimentary call.
Wishing you a successful 2024!
Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Exiting underperforming Team Members – The Inside Scoop”. It is a practical response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at https://resolvehr.com.au/.
Disclaimer: The contents written do not constitute legal advice and does not cater for individual circumstances. The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.