Reasons for change

Change is a normal and essential part of business. It's an important step in improving your staff performance, enhancing goods or services and expanding.

There are many reasons why change happens in a business, such as:

  • Internal change: staff turnover, skilling requirements, employee duties or changes to management policies and styles.
  • External change: changes in technology, improving the needs of your customers, new laws or government regulations, or new competitors in your industry.
  • Reactive change: change your business is forced to react to, such as a new law in your industry.
  • Proactive change: where you as the owner make the decision to change.

Proactive change usually improves your business. These changes can include:

  • a business merging with another
  • a management team changing due to staff turnover
  • business structure change
  • a business expanding and needing to take on new employees
  • a business moving to a new location.

Use our 4 steps help you with your change management approach. These steps can ensure a smooth transition, strengthen your business and help you retain your staff, business skills and knowledge.

1. Have a clear picture

Start with a clear picture of your desired outcome. It can help people understand the big picture and keep in mind what they're working towards.

2. Create a change management plan

It can be helpful to write down your business changes. This will help plan, document and communicate the plan and the change to staff or stakeholders.

In your change management plan, consider:

  • what your desired outcome looks like
  • the reasons, benefits and aim of the change
  • what tasks needs to be done and who will do what
  • goals and targets for the change
  • potential milestones to hit.

3. Inform your staff of the changes

Communicating with staff early and engaging with them through the change process can help people understand and embrace the change.

Tips for communicating with employees in times of change:

  • Make employees aware of change as early as possible. Ensure they hear about the change from the leaders, not other staff members.
  • Clearly explain the reasons for the change, the process the business will go through and what the end goal is.
  • Answer questions from staff where possible. Your staff will need time to process the details and impact of the change, and address their own concerns and fears. Be aware that during the change period there may be a drop in productivity.
  • Involve your staff in the planning and design of the change. Set up a forum and note all suggestions and concerns that relate to the change process. Communicate with your staff often and across different channels to cater to a range of learning styles, for example, one-on-one meetings, emails, feedback sessions or a morning tea.
  • Support your staff. You might schedule one-on-one meetings with members of your management team or make counselling available if the change is substantial.

4. Encourage a culture of change

Change is a normal and essential part of running a business. By promoting a culture of change and flexibility from the get-go, you can help your staff become comfortable with change, so they can adapt easier in the future.

Tips to help you encourage culture of change:

  • start with small changes
  • invite your staff to participate, share ideas and observations
  • recognise input and celebrate successes
  • keep looking for ways for your business to improve and implement those suggestions.

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