With the headlines full of MP Jeremy Hunt's plans to force change upon working patterns in the NHS - we will all at some point need to manage change in our businesses.
I'm sure we can all recall a moment in our childhood, or working lives for that matter, when we were forced to do something. Can you remember how that made you feel? Frustrated, angry, resentful, disengaged, demotivated? I doubt you felt engaged and committed to giving your best under the new arrangements - even if that was only being forced to carry on with those dreaded piano lessons! But equally - the great saying 'turkeys don't vote for Christmas' also comes to mind.....
Regardless of whether we need to force change through or can be more consultative, we need to remember those feelings, and apply the lessons we learnt when we are faced with a need to change things in our workplace. It could be a need to change contractual terms and conditions such as working patterns, team structures or just one process, and it could be a case of painful, but necessary change for some turkeys!
The key points are the same:
involve and engage people from the start
explain why you need to change and where you need to get to as a business
explain the benefits (if there are any) and/or the risks of not making changes
have all the relevant information to help inform your discussions and decision making and;
give staff the full picture of what's involved and remember to;
keep them informed throughout the process.
There are always going to be a few who won't participate, and a few for whom change is just too painful, but if you are honest and open with your staff and communicate effectively, they will generally participate in the process, and help you develop workable, (even creative) solutions.
*Specialist advice should be sought if you are considering changing employment terms and conditions, redundancies or transferring ownership of a business (or contract) as specific legal requirements need to be met in these cases.
*Under the Information and Consultation Regulations, company's with 50 or more employees are legally obliged to inform and consult their staff (if formally requested to do so or if they choose to voluntarily) about the businesses economic situation, employment prospects or decisions likely to lead to substantial changes in work organisation or contracts. For more information visit:http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1598