In any organisation, we hear about the need to manage a ‘change process’ to navigate staff through a major transition such as a new IT system, staffing restructure or relocation.
Organisational change is no longer restricted to a major event, but rather constant cycles of reflection and reorganisation have become the new way of working, to stay alive in the competitive, global, ever-evolving business landscape.
This can have a profound impact on the mental wellbeing of workers, and the willingness and capability of those workers to adapt to the change can determine its success or failure.
Countless organisations have gone through change processes only to end up reverting back to their former ways of working because the transition was not well-managed for the people expected to adapt to it. Those scenarios have taught us a lot about the science to managing organisational change and the effective approaches to take.
Communicating at the outset
Employees will work with organisational change much better if they are included in – and informed about – each step of the transformation process with clear communication.
It is important to give your employees control over how their future will look and work. It’s also vital you tell them why the change must happen. If your employees know the ‘why’, it will make it much easier for them to accept the how and when of change.
Equipping workers to self-care
One of the most effective ways to show you care for your employees and equip them with the skills they need to navigate the change in a positive way is to provide them with knowledge and tools to employ good self-care techniques throughout the process.
Some simple ways to help look after your mental health throughout periods of change and transition are to:
- Take regular breaks during your working day
- Establish good relationships in the workplace, with in-person conversations instead of email wherever possible
- Switch off after hours as much as possible
- Look after your physical health as it closely correlates with your mental health
- Notice your breathing. Take a few really deep breaths as it can break the body’s panic reaction. It’s the quickest and easiest stress relief available. ‘
- It’s OK to say no at work. Regular lines of communication can make all the difference in helping to create clarity and a shared understanding.
Influencing change to create opportunities
Change is an opportunity for everyone to rethink how things can be improved. Focusing on the positive aspects can be a helpful way to manage the change process – and create new possibilities.
It is inevitable that no organisation can stay the same in this fast-paced world with ever-changing technology. What is not inevitable is the reaction to change. Remember to keep up the communication, actively listen to your colleagues and provide feedback wherever possible. Where communication is open, the transition through change can be a beneficial one for both you and your employer.
Margo Lydon is the Chief Executive Officer of SuperFriend.
SuperFriend focuses on creating positive, healthy and safe working environments where every employee can be well and thrive. Our goal is to reduce the incidence of suicide and the impact of mental illness on individuals and their workplaces.