How do I get my employees to embrace change?

A Brief Case

Cecelia Gore

Executive director

Brewers Community Foundation

“As we all know, change is inevitable. We experience change in our personal and professional lives. People come and go, often those that we care deeply about. We are bound to have a number of employment opportunities and personal experiences throughout our career.

“Some change is easy and sometimes it is tough. In my experience, change generally leads to something good.  In the midst of change, I remind myself that as I am helping others to change, I am also experiencing some level of change myself – treat others the way I would like to be treated. It is important to be patient with ourselves and kind, recognizing that it doesn’t take much to get set in our ways.

“I also attempt and encourage as much transparency as possible, along with clear communication about the change at hand. I would offer two proverbs that might help as we tackle the notion of change in our lives: ‘If you want to get somewhere fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ Lean on each other when faced with change – makes the journey a bit more interesting. 

“Finally, we should remember, ‘Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.’ All of us need to stay a step or two ahead of the game. Embrace lifelong learning and enjoy the ride.”

Joaquin Altoro

Vice president-business banking

Town Bank

“I have learned over the years, personally and anecdotally, that employee engagement is the way to go. It’s natural human behavior to want to be included. If a particular initiative allows for employee engagement in advance of implementation, allow for your employees to have some input.

“However, there are times when employees will not have this opportunity. In that case, it is important to be very clear in explaining the change. There is nothing worse than getting mixed messages about management-led changes – it can breed a sense of frustration with leadership.

“I have also noticed that continual communication prior to, throughout, and after the change helps the medicine go down. It feels so much better to know that leadership respects employees enough to keep them in the loop.”

Ann Hanna

Managing director & owner

Taureau Group LLC

“A resistance to change is generally the fear of the unknown. Acceptance of change depends on what the perceived outcome will be. At Taureau Group, we strive to initiate change only where it allows us to be more efficient, higher quality or smarter. Consequently, a culture develops such that change equals improvement. We also include affected team members in the decision process, which gives them influence and ownership in the new endeavor. Inclusion and then proper communication can make change fun and exciting.

“Living and embracing the reality that you will have failure with change is also essential. Not if, but when … failure is unavoidable. It is difficult to live in the moment of failure, but it’s easier knowing there is support without blame. The important key is to fail as quickly and inexpensively as possible, and then embrace the lessons learned.

“In our interview process, we screen for people who are open to new ideas and have the flexibility to adapt. We also look for people who have a strong control over ego. Confidence is vitally important, but ego-driven individuals can never quickly embrace and adapt.

“Workplace attitudes toward change have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. The advent of Amazon, Google and Apple has disrupted our traditional ways of shopping, research, data access and management. Both in our personal and work life, we have become conditioned to expect change and that change has generally made our lives easier, faster and more efficient.

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