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Embracing Change: The Employee Experience in 2022

26 January 2022

All signs point to continuing change in 2022, and it’s time to embrace it as the new normal. Adaptability is a cornerstone of success, and understanding the difference between surviving and thriving is fundamental to empowering your employees to greet change with enthusiasm.

Change management

Traditionally, change management is designed to decrease resistance and increase adoption regardless of how employees view the change. It relies heavily on documentation, timelines, and directives to ensure compliance. But this management approach may invite opposition from employees who feel disconnected from decisions and decision makers, especially when this burdens them with abrupt demands. Reducing the noise that frequently accompanies broad changes, including endless documentation requirements and rigid compliance measures, is a solid first step for encouraging employees to embrace change rather than wonder how they will suffer through it.

Leadership is pivotal to easing the burden change can place on employees. Consider these basic questions before piling on the change “management” tasks:

Side-stepping survival mode

Reducing change-related employee anxiety is a primary function of company leadership. Transparency and relevant information keep employees from speculating and spinning worst-case scenarios about what comes next. Share both the certainties and possibilities of an upcoming change with your employees, give regular progress reports, and emphasize their opportunities.

When confronted with significant change, people have a tendency to kick into survival mode — especially when their control over the situation is limited. But change initiatives require employee cooperation and investment to achieve optimal success. Leadership can encourage employee engagement by emphasizing the opportunities, for your organization and your employees, to thrive.

Managing change as a constant is an intimidating concept, especially after the chaos of the past few years, but intentional and positive leadership will encourage your employees to embrace change for good. Consider these ideas for inspiring your employees to embrace change:

Embracing change

Imagine your employees — once resistant and reluctant to change — transformed into a flexible, dynamic workforce that welcomes change as both a challenge and an opportunity. What are the hallmarks of a successful change-oriented organization?

First, it is resilient. Whether change is planned or the result of sudden disruption, your employees can adapt and adjust. Change-oriented organizations are people-centered and focused on meeting the needs — and optimizing the experiences — of their employees and customers. They challenge “old ways” of doing business by driving innovation and encouraging creative collaboration. Change-oriented companies create a dynamic company culture, which inspires stability, increases retention, and welcomes chances to set and achieve new goals. Finally, these dynamic organizations nurture employee learning and development, value their health and wellbeing, and celebrate their individual achievements alongside those of the company.

Embracing the new world of work is about embracing change as a constant and learning to evaluate evolving situations for the opportunities they present.

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