It could be a new vacation request procedure, or a change to retirement withholdings, or just a new directive about not pouring coffee down the water fountain.
Whatever the new policy, how you implement the change is almost as important as the change itself. After all, any workplace runs on habit. A smooth operation involves everyone knowing what to do and when to do it.
A sudden, haphazard transition can spark complaints (and even full-on revolt) among front-line workers. A poorly managed shift on a core policy can seriously cut into productivity and permanently damage morale.
That doesn’t argue that you should never alter policies. You need to be able to make changes. If you can’t evolve with the marketplace, your processes will get old and your procedures will fall below the industry standards. Technology and innovation will pass you by.
The key is knowing how to implement changes. With that in mind, here are four steps for a smooth transition:
Don’t Make the Change a Surprise
Things get easier when you ease people into things. Don’t take your workers off guard when a change is coming. Set the execution date far enough in the future that you can avoid sudden surprises and use the time to plan a smooth transition.
Also, don’t assume that your team will remember all the details of the policy change after a single explanation. Repeat and remind as much as possible.
Explain the Need for the New Policy
If a policy seems arbitrary, it’s likely to meet with more resistance. On the other hand, a policy perceived as necessary and progressive can tap into reservoirs of support you didn’t know existed. Often, the difference between the two represents a matter of perception.
Think about the rollout of a new policy before you officially announce it. Consider your communication strategy. You should present the idea (well ahead of time, remember) with an explanation of why the change is needed and how it will be enacted. Also, provide some sort of resource for workers to get additional information (a website, an email address to send questions, or even just an invitation to talk to you whenever they need clarification).
Get Feedback on How It Should Be Implemented
The smallest misstep can turn an otherwise flawless rollout into a debacle. Launch a change on Friday instead of the following Monday, or try to implement the policy when some key member of the team is on vacation and the endeavor can get off to a rocky start.
These small errors can be avoided by getting feedback ahead of time. Get as many opinions as you can before locking in the details. Release a preliminary plan to everyone impacted and ask for feedback.
Now that the new policy is in place, don’t backtrack.
If you’ve done all the preliminary steps right, you should experience a smooth transition. You planned everything out so the rollout would ruffle as few feathers as possible. People were properly warned. And everyone had time to nitpick the details of the new policy before it went into place.
There is no reason to revert back to the old policy. Doing so will only complicate the situation and cause confusion.
Implementing a new policy becomes easier when you have the right workers. Competent, flexible team members can change with the times, allowing you to stay nimble and relevant amid a fast-evolving marketplace.
Find Top Talent
Working with a top-flight staffing firm, like LaborMax, helps you bring in these quick-thinking workers. Build the team you need for changing times. Contact LaborMax today to find out more.