Companies nowadays are in a constant state of flux. Suddenly, a major global crisis (such as a deadly pandemic) can quickly overturn regular processes and create a new one.
Some people thrive with routine. When things start to change, their habits are thrown out the window. They feel overwhelmed which will have an impact on their productivity and overall mental well-being.
When shifts within a company happen, it is the duty of management to understand how and why employees are reacting to transformations and transitions. It is also their responsibility, for the sake of the company, to help everyone adapt as smoothly as possible.
Draft a Clear Integration Plan
When two separate companies fuse, many things change. Companies have their own unique cultures developed through years and years of working together. When mergers and acquisitions happen, company cultures can clash and employees may feel lost for a certain amount of time.
There are only two ways employees can react to this kind of change: they either adapt to the new way or, if they cannot make the adjustments, they leave the company. High turnover of employees only negatively impacts the company.
Management should, therefore, take company cultures and employees into account in the merger and acquisition integration plan. The human resource department must create new traditions without forcing people to drop the ones that they enjoyed in the past.
Many companies that underwent mergers and acquisitions do more meetings and team-building exercises in the first few months in order to encourage employees, who are working for the first time, to be acquainted. They give opportunities for employees to bond and establish a strong professional relationship.
Preparation and Training are Keys
The past few years have been all about the digital revolution in the workplace. Companies adopted new technologies that boost performance, productivity, and, most importantly, profit.
But, not everyone is comfortable using new technologies. Employees who are older are used to doing things a certain way and may find it difficult to adjust.
As work starts to be automated, there will also be fear and anxiety over job certainty.
Show your employees that there is nothing to be afraid of. The company should open training programs to all employees, not just the ones who are older. Everyone needs to be acquainted with the new technologies. They should know how to use it. Most of all, they should be assured that the equipment is there to make their work easier, not replace them completely.
Placing training programs at the beginning of the transition to automation will create comfort and ease nervousness. It will also save time later knowing that everyone is ready to work with a machine.
A Little at a Time
Changes should be implemented bit by bit, not all at once. Employees should be given time to get acclimated to the changes, but throwing new policies and processes suddenly and en masse would feel overwhelming. You would not give them the opportunity to forget old habits and create new ones.
Be a mentor. Let your team ask questions and be ready to answer them as honestly as possible. Allow mistakes to happen, especially at the beginning while everyone is still adjusting to the new rules.
Involve People in the Process
When changes happen, the employees are always the ones who will be affected the most. The new technology, mergers and acquisitions, the arrival of new management, development of new policies and processes will all impact their every day. Before any major changes are implemented, it is best to include your staff from the get-go.
Ask for input and opinions. Moreover, be open to seriously considering their feelings and ideas. Sometimes, bosses make a decision and stubbornly stick to it regardless of what their employees say.
By inviting employees into the decision-making process, you will ensure that the changes make sense and will help your team do a better job.
Expect People to React Differently
As mentioned, not everyone responds to change with ease. Some will understandably feel anxiety and fear because it is unfamiliar. Others may welcome the transition seamlessly.
Just make sure to have patience for those who might need time to adjust. Do not force them to acclimate immediately. If you push them, they will feel overwhelmed and may leave the office for good.
Every company will have to go through changes at some point. It might happen because of an acquisition or an executive’s retirement. Regardless of the reason, how the employees will be affected should always be considered because they are the backbone of the company.