I'm so bored of hearing about change
I'm so bored of hearing about change.
“I’m sick to the back teeth of everyone speaking about change. Every week there seems to be another change initiative in one form or another – boring!
"So what! Who cares about this new idea or that new idea? Not me! Because, guess what? Next week it will all get changed again won’t it? How can I possibly be expected to be enthusiastic and excited about this new change when in five minutes it will be something else. No one seems to know what they are doing and there is no consistency (or is there?– we will explore that a little later on).
"In addition to having to deal with all this organisational rubbish, my home life is not that great. I have some family issues and really don’t know how to respond to them and what if I end up losing my job too, then what? It feels like I am just about keeping my head above the choppy water?”
Sound familiar either from yourself or one of your team? It can be very scary for everyone and within all these great change initiatives that are aimed at making the business function more effectively it is easy to forget the impact all this can be having on the very people we need more than ever to be at the top of their game. How can the changes be introduced effectively if the people we are relying on to introduce them are feeling anything but enthusiastic and feel that they are about to be washed away with the next big change wave?
It is almost counterproductive the change should save “X” but following this the staff absenteeism and sickness goes up. What you gain in one hand you lose in the other. So what is the true cost of change? I’m not sure, but am sure that whatever we estimated it to be the true cost is much greater both emotionally and financially and of course the emotional costs are much harder to measure but they do have an equal impact on our bottom line.
Yet how often when planning change do you consider your staff's well-being as one of the essential aspects of introducing a change and making it truly effective? (How often do we offer them a surf board to ride the waves of change?) I wonder how much more cost effective the change implementation would be if there was a budget put aside for supporting staff emotionally and how much easier the change process would be for all concerned.
People are not machines and they need time and space to adapt and reflect and when given suitable space and support they are able to function more effectively and ride through the changes like a professional surfer rides the waves.
Of course some changes may also be personal and as a business you may think they have no relevance to you, but do they? Maybe, maybe not. Happy staff perform better and by helping them in times of challenge you will not only have a more effective team member - you will boost morale, staff loyalty and reduce absenteeism. All of which are costly to the business. A business that cares for staff and has a good reputation can attract better candidates for future posts too.
I myself experienced this when I was going through some changes in my home life. I asked my employer if I could work a four day week and they agreed and adapted my case load. The outcome was amazing. My productivity went up. I ended up being more productive working four days than I had been working five. Win-win - the company paid me less and got more because I was happier and had the time to do the things that I needed to do, a happier more content and productive person.
Thinking about a staff well-being initiative is anything but a cost, it is an investment. Your people are the most important tool you have in making your business cost efficient. Consider them and give them the support they need to and your investment will be returned.
After all how do you create consistency in a changing world or is the change the consistency? Let’s get more proactive with the emotional support we give our teams and help them to discover how they too can ride the waves of change.
Can you afford not to invest in the emotional well-being of your staff?
What changes could you implement that will have a positive impact on your business?
Five top tips for staff well-being
Encourage staff to take breaks away from their work station.
Encourage staff to move their bodies. Motion creates emotion and if people have been feeling negative, changing position can help shift the emotion (exercise is even better, maybe have a lunchtime walking club).
Create opportunities for laughter - laughter is a human connector and people who laugh together share a positive experience. Laughter is also a great way to release emotions (positive and negative).
Advertise emotional support (such as coaching and counselling with a professional from outside the business) as a staff benefit and be open and positive about using it.
Provide training on soft skills using a trainer who has a positive psychology background.