Companies often change their practices for various reasons. Whether the business needs to scale operations to adjust for business growth or implement practices to accommodate new services, changes within a company are almost inevitable. Unfortunately, some business changes are ineffective or fail to serve customers and employees better than previous standards.
Knowing which questions to ask about change in the workplace will help business owners and leaders make the best decisions for the company, its customers, and its staff. Asking the right questions before changing anything about the company will ensure that leadership avoids preventable problems and sheds light on whether the change would be beneficial or a hindrance to success.
Table of Contents
- Do You Understand Why the Business Change Is Necessary?
- How Will the Change Help the Business Achieve Its Goals?
- Can You Commit to the Change?
- Are You Ready to Talk to Your Team About Workplace Changes?
- Can You Communicate the Business Changes to the Team in a Way that Inspires Employees for the Future?
Why Employers Hesitate Making Changes in the Workplace
Though business changes are generally unavoidable, many business owners and managers are hesitant to adjust long-standing practices, procedures, and systems. Having a steady routine creates a sense of stability and security in and out of the workplace.
Changes also come with positive and negative outcomes. Sometimes the good outweighs the bad, but the opposite can also be true. Other reasons businesses may resist change include:
- Rigid Structures: It takes years for successful companies to create their ideal organizational structures, which can become rigid over time. People become used to dealing with certain people, departments, and routines.
- Company Culture: Whether a business has a laid-back atmosphere or regimented corporate culture, alterations to the business model can shake the cultural foundation employees helped build.
- Costs and Investments: Companies that invest a lot of money in reaching a specific business goal are likely to resist cutting the losses and starting a new objective.
Before beginning an initiative, it’s best for company leaders to fully understand all aspects of the new mission, including what is changing and who the business makeover will affect negatively and positively. Not only will asking questions help you understand the initiative. It will also help determine if the benefits outweigh any disadvantages and make the idea of change more agreeable.
1. Do You Understand Why the Business Change Is Necessary?
Changing how a business operates may seem worthwhile, but that does not mean the company needs altering. By understanding why a business needs a specific initiative or new process, owners will be more likely to accept the change and everything that comes with it.
For instance, changing employee incentives to include group benefits alters how the business handles its employees. On the surface, group benefits are a good idea. However, you should still ask yourself, “Are the benefits going to help the staff obtain resources beyond what provincial health care plans offer, or is the change for the betterment of the entire company?”
You can communicate the reasons more effectively when you understand the “why” behind a change. Everyone will know that a change has a purpose.
2. How Will the Change Help the Business Achieve Its Goals?
Company goals can change at any time. For instance, a competitor can release a product or service that draws your customer base away from the goods your organization offers. Though your business successfully met the previous objective of establishing a loyal client base, it has to shift to accommodate a new competitor and consumer trend.
One way to ensure that a business change has a purpose is to identify ways it will benefit the company’s future. Does the change improve the company’s chance of meeting an objective, and if so, how? If you can answer these questions, you might be on the right track with your company makeover.
3. Can You Commit to the Change?
Once business owners and leaders fully comprehend why a change should occur, they can determine whether they can afford to commit it. Long-lasting change with positive results requires commitments from relevant parties to support the mission.
It is easier for some people to commit to business changes than others. However, for initiatives to succeed, everyone needs to make a personal choice to execute the company’s new plans, especially leadership. Making a positive shift in how the business operates will take a lot of effort, time, and resources, which is why dedication is essential for making over part of the company’s operational practices.
4. Are You Ready to Talk to Your Team About Workplace Changes?
Implementing a change without creating a clear plan for employees is an effective way to fail a company initiative. Employees are the driving force to a business’s success, and they should have a reason to encourage it. Reasons can be anything from knowing how the change will further business goals to job security.
Employees do not have to agree with company changes, but they should understand them, mainly if changes affect their work. Engage with workers and ask for their input. Your business will benefit from talking to the team about what will happen with the company because they are more likely to feel invested in the change and do their part to achieve optimal results.
5. Can You Communicate the Business Changes to the Team in a Way that Inspires Employees for the Future?
Attempting to sell employees on the company makeover is not always practical. It also does not work to tell them that change is coming and offer no further information. When workers do not understand why their company is implementing new initiatives, processes, and systems, they could resist or push back against the business.
Consider creating an accurate yet compelling narrative about the company change that will positively affect the business’s trajectory, which includes its leadership and employees. The goal is to communicate the details of the change effectively while engaging workers. Without feeling hopeful or inspired about the future, employees may not be on board with the mission and complicate matters.
6. Do You Know How Employees Will Benefit from New Workplace Systems or Processes?
Sometimes, companies adjust their practices or trajectory according to profits, investments, vendors, overhead costs, etc. Leaders do not always consider how new missions directly affect their employees. However, employees are the backbone of the business, and organizational changes will likely affect them.
Ask yourself, “Will the mission make employees work harder or feel less appreciated? Will the new system help workers serve customers quicker and more efficiently? How will the change affect their pay or incentives?”
Regardless of why your business needs to alter its practices, do not forget to consider your workforce. Even the best changes can fail without a team to back them.
7. What Are Employee Expectations While the Business Change Is Underway?
Expectations of staff during an organizational change may not be the same among employees, management, and business owners. As a business owner, it helps to know what each department can expect during the company makeover. What will everyone’s roles be, and how will they differ from their current roles?
If roles and expectations are different, it would be best to incorporate additional training so that everyone understands how they should adjust their duties to accommodate the change. Business owners and managers should also be knowledgeable about the roles of subordinates to prevent miscommunication about expectations.
8. Can You Do What Is Necessary to Implement the Change?
It takes more than a good idea to implement an organizational business change. For long-lasting results, leadership must have the appropriate knowledge, resources, and skills to produce successful results. Training, studying, and practice may be necessary in some cases.
If the change affects employees and how they perform tasks, it would be best for managers to ensure that their teams serve as the change requires. Leaders should work closely with employees and provide additional support to those who do not learn or adjust as quickly as others.
9. How Can You Prepare Your Leaders to Manage the Change?
Though most company changes rely on the support of a productive workforce, successful integration of a new system or process will require the assistance of company leadership. It is not unusual for staff in every department and all skill levels to be hesitant about changes. However, the management team will be responsible for quelling fears and keeping the team together.
Managers, supervisors, and other leaders will be the ones who uphold the reasons for the business’s new direction and reinforce critical messages to subordinates. The leadership will also manage conflicts and answer questions about the business changes to ensure that everyone gets to a place of acceptance, if not excitement, about what the company is trying to do.
When preparing the workforce for change, do not neglect the leaders. Ensure they have the answers to any questions employees could have and ensure they have the proper training and tools to help their subordinates.
Learn more about important small business trends to maintain success for the future.
Make Beneficial Changes in the Workplace With the Help of Group Enroll
The management questions and answers above are not inclusive. Every business makeover will create its own unique set of circumstances that will generate questions to ask about changes in the workplace. However, if one of your workplace changes involves investing in group benefits for your employees, Group Enroll can help.
As a leading insurance broker in Canada, Group Enroll partners with some of the biggest insurance agencies in the nation. Our knowledgeable representatives help business owners compare and select group insurance products that best suit their companies’ needs, including extended health care, group disability insurance, and group retirement savings plans.
When you are ready to compare quotes from Canada’s leading insurance providers, fill out our online form or email [email protected]. You can also mail correspondence to 10 Great Gulf Drive, Unit 5, Vaughan, ON, L4k 5W1.