How to ensure change is good for your people

Whether you’re going through a physical or cultural workplace transformation, it can be a big change for you and your team. Workplaces everywhere are needing to make lots of changes at the moment and successful change management can help to reduce uncertainty or negative feelings. Mike McKeown (pictured), who recently joined the management team at Ashby-de-la-Zouch-based workplace consultancy and fit-out specialist Blueprint Interiors, shares some tips on making change a positive experience for your people.

WHAT IS CHANGE MANAGEMENT? Renowned architect and author of Design for Change, Frank Duffy, describes change management nicely. He says architecture and design

is how you prepare the space for your people, but change management is about preparing people for the space.

TIP 1: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! If you want to make sure your workplace fit-out or refurb runs smoothly, you’ve got to start with a plan.

Map out a detailed, step-by-step

approach from the design stages to the fit-out. It’ll make such a big process

much easier to tackle, and it’ll make it easier for your team to get behind the idea if they understand what’s happening and when. A key part of this planning stage

is defining your “why” – your reasons for initiating any type of change will inform the rest of the process.

TIP 2: INVOLVE YOUR TEAM If your people haven’t been your focus in your plan, this needs to change. Your people are your business’s biggest asset, so it’s important to look after them first. Try to provide your team with as

much choice and control as possible throughout the period of change. Science shows that people don’t respond well to “being changed”, or situations where they lack control.

Give your people the opportunity

to raise concerns or ask questions during planning and make sure it’s a two-way conversation where you really listen to their needs. During the change, share information on your new workplace design – or whatever your change may be – with your wider teams and address any issues that are raised. Beyond this, respond to your employee’s concerns to show they are valued. Quick tip: when making changes

to an office, for example, embracing an agile working culture has been shown to improve workplace wellbeing. If you’re transforming your workplace, document the project’s progress to keep your team involved and excited throughout. And when the space is finished,

you can use before and after images to publicise the investment you’ve made in helping your people and your business to succeed.

TIP 3: SHARE THE VISION Create a compelling vision of what people can expect following any changes you’re making, with a focus on the benefits. For example, share images of

what the company’s new space will be like. It’s also a good idea to designate “change champions” who will keep the communication going between management and your wider workforce.

TIP 4: CULTURE IS KEY Workplace culture is always an important consideration, but especially when managing change. Your workplace culture sets the

precedent for “how things get done around here” and the way you lead reflects and shapes your workplace culture. All change management requires strategic leadership, so it’s important you reflect your core values in the way you go about it. One final piece of advice we’ll

leave you with is to make sure you maintain a positive attitude throughout and people are more likely to follow your lead. Simple yet effective!

business network August/September 2020 69

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