HomeBlogBusiness Process6 steps to engaging employees through challenging times of corporate change

6 steps to engaging employees through challenging times of corporate change

Corporate change can be very stressful and uncertain for all those involved. Understanding the importance of the role your employees need to play is hugely important. Having everyone on board with the change and striving for the overall aim is key to success. Engaging your employees through the most challenging times can be very difficult if you are not prepared for it.

It’s important to work proactively to relieve employees’ concerns and keep them aware of how much you value them and the work they do. The danger behind not doing so can show them they are being undervalued. This lowers the risk of engagement.

And all of this is before we even get to encouraging them to get onboard with organisational change generally.

Your employees will need the right guidance, as the unfortunate reality is that times of corporate change can see employees overlooked, but they are very important.

To help you, we’ve pulled together 6 steps which will help you engage your employees through the challenging times of corporate change, keeping them firmly aligned with the mission, goals, objectives and values of the organisation.


1. Recruit dedication

If you are planning ahead before a corporate change, you should start thinking about recruiting the team you want before you put the wheels in motion. Look for passion and dedication. These people are much easier to influence towards your objectives.


2. Communicate early

No matter how hard you try to keep it a secret, trust us when we tell you that the employees will get wind of your plan for change, so it’s a better idea that you tell them what is going on as early as possible. We’d recommend that you emphasise the benefit the change will have for them, because this is all employees really care about. They might love your company and want it to work, but that is usually because it means they get to keep their job. Trust us, they’ll work much faster and harder if they know you’re making a change with their interests in mind, too. Make sure this is communicated early.

If they’re left in the dark too long, this can dismantle their trust. Give them time to get used to the idea of the change and plan for it. Anyone who is really against it will hopefully leave.


3. Feedback and trust

It’s important to maintain consistency and continuously monitor employee engagement levels, then encourage feedback. This brings many benefits, including helping to recognise issues and being able to address them with a plan to overcome any problems.

Corporate change brings the need for a voice for the employees, and feedback brings important insight. Incorporating the feedback into your plan not only engages your employees, but also provides you with the right tools and information to move forward.

Trust is important in the workplace, especially between employees and leadership teams. Autonomy is often valued by employees and micromanagement does not go down well, so your employees will need to be given the freedom to work towards the change themselves.

Processes and tools to monitor performance are a good idea, but make sure you explain why you are using them. You don’t want your employees to think you’re keeping tabs, or that you don’t trust them. You need to make sure they know that you recognise their worth, that the success comes from the bottom up, and that they are the engine of the workforce; the foundation on which the company was formed. You need them to know that you recognise their worth and the part they have to play in making your business a success, and show them how that will benefit all of you.

So get feedback from your employees as to how they think it is going, and take it seriously.


4. Internal promotions

Many organisations use internal promotions as a way to engage their employees. Your employees need more than their paypacket to stay. They want a calm, safe environment to work in, and you should never underestimate the benefits of other perks, like shares in the company, a wellbeing incentive, or bonuses for good performance. These things make your employees feel like they’re invested in your company. They make them feel like they own it, too.

Promotions could be as simple as offering your staff skill enhancing training. As Richard Brandon said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Show your employees you are invested in them as individuals, and they’ll invest their time and energy into you, even through challenging times or corporate change.


5. Concentrate on culture and values

Your company has core values, even if you don’t know it. You must decipher what these are and make sure they are instilled in every bit of work your employees do. After all, they are the heart of your company. If they aren’t acting in line with your values, this needs to change.

Help your employees to understand your values by getting them to assist you in identifying them, and look for ways in which they can incorporate them throughout the company.

Core values are a huge attraction for employees and showing that you are upholding them is a good way of promoting your organisation as forward thinking.

Understanding your company culture and building on it is very important. They will hold you together in challenging times, or when you are experiencing corporate change.


6. Celebrate each victory

When your employees are working hard – and really pushing through in times of uncertainty – you as the employer should be recognising this. To drive employee engagement, we need to celebrate victories large and small. There are many ways to set this up.

You might host an awards ceremony, or a video call to celebrate achievements. You can offer prizes to high performers, such as vouchers, or an additional day off. Make sure you are being inclusive in this, though. Lots of these initiatives are sometimes accidentally ablest or sexist. For example, if you reward staff for high attendance, lots of women will struggle because they are likely the primary caregivers to children, and so have to have a day off if they have children who are sick. Those with physical disabilities or mental illness might also struggle to attend all the time, so initiatives like this need to be sensitive to individual differences.

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