Ever have one of those days when you feel like the rug got pulled out from under you because something happened that you weren’t expecting? Change is natural for all companies and it can come in any number of ways to your organization. But remember – you can set the tone for whether your employees perceive it as positive or negative.

You may have seen that we’ve written a bit about employee ambassadors. These folks can not only be your #1 fans but can also ease the transition when something changes in your organization.

The American Management Association has identified five keys to engage employees in change:

  1. Keep communications open and honest. Be transparent, even when conveying bad news.
  2. Be deliberate about the purpose and target of the communications.
  3. Leverage peer catalysts. Identify and leverage centers of influence within the organization who are natural change agents.
  4. Close the loop. Always provide updates on what is done with people’s questions or feedback.
  5. Engage employees in the process.

The recurring element in this list is communication – put information in their hands. Whether you have a merger, building move, re-branding, or layoffs on the horizon, your employee ambassadors can help you keep everyone in the know and set the tone for your business.

How do you identify these change ambassadors? Figure out who carries the most weight with your full team. Who can set the mood for the office? Who is called upon for advice and guidance? Who is respected as a voice of reason? These folks are your influencers. They may not be executives or managers, but they can help communicate information and create buy-in from the bottom up.

No matter who delivers the messages, communication is key. Influencers can be in the know but ALL employees should feel like they understand and know what to expect. If possible, give them an outlet to discuss the changes and ask questions via round tables, forums, etc.

There should be at least a few people who are ready to adopt the change early on, and these stakeholders can become your biggest employee advocates to help get other folks on board with the transition. By identifying these advocates early on, and providing them with additional training and engagement, you can set a more positive tone that will ensure a smoother process with fewer hiccups. (Source)

Even with the headaches that change can bring, it also creates opportunities to bring teams together while improving overall employee engagement. Think about it – everyone’s working toward a common goal, such as moving your operations into a new space, and everyone will go through a similar experience with packing up desks, etc. That can be some pretty powerful bonding.

You can also be creative and fun to encourage positivity. For example, we recently worked with a client that has an in-house change management team. They recently split offices and had to relocate a large percentage of their employees into a different office space. They offered a “gift” to all of these employees – an umbrella with a tag that said, “Thanks for helping us weather the change.”

Be creative, be useful, but most of all COMMUNICATE.

Need creative ideas to help your company weather a change? We can help! Contact us today!