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Initiating Change in the Workplace: A How-To Guide

Embracing change can be daunting, but it is necessary for businesses to grow and thrive. Explore the benefits and tactics of initiating change in the workplace using this how-to guide. ✅

The Hugo Team
The Hugo Team
The team transforming meeting productivity
Initiating Change in the Workplace: A How-To Guide

Embracing change can be quite a challenge. However, change is necessary and inevitable if you’re looking to witness major growth.

When it comes to businesses, it’s even more important for your team to be open to new changes. New economic and technological advancements in the world aren’t just going to come to a halt. To maximize benefits, companies need to embrace change no matter how uncomfortable or frightening it may be. The ability to adapt to these developments will set your company apart from the competition. 

Often, any new initiatives in the office will come with some resistance. This is because people tend to feel uncertain, hesitant, and intimidated to jump to new processes. However, it’s important to note that most business changes are pursued for good reasons — for the future of the business to be more efficient, productive, and, most importantly, profitable. 

To help you mitigate the anxiety of change, we will be answering the following questions: 

Let’s get started.

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What types of organizational change happen in the workplace? 

Ideas for change are rooted in many different areas. For example, challenges that departments face in their day-to-day life, new products, or even shifts in someone’s personal life could lead to significant changes in the office. The four main types of change in the workplace include: 

  • Organizational change: This type of change involves restructuring critical components of the business’ operations and strategies. For example, changes to the company’s mission, goals, and company culture fall under organizational change. 
  • Technological change: Many organizations explore new technologies that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their work. Businesses can enhance their productivity by implementing products that make processes easier and faster. 
  • Structural change: Big changes to the team's organization can help a business thrive. One of the more obvious structural changes that occurred within the past few years is the shift from in-person to online and hybrid work. 
  • Changing demographics: Diverse perspectives are crucial to a successful business. With an increased focus on prioritizing diversity and inclusion, more companies are combatting ethnic and cultural discrimination, starting from the hiring process. 

Companies that keep change as a central part of their business strategy are more likely to adapt to new situations — keeping them competitive, not stagnant. 

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What are the benefits of change in the workplace?

Change isn’t always welcome because it lacks familiarity and control. However, those that can step outside of their comfort zone reap the positive benefits of change: 

  • Promotes innovation: Without new changes, companies can find themselves at a plateau. By practicing adaptability, your team will demonstrate their willingness to stay in the market alongside your competitors. 
  • Encourages the development of new skills: While learning new technical skill sets is beneficial for the company, this is also helpful to its employees. Team members who work on the same tasks every day will never bring innovation to the company. Skills growth molds employees to become more well-rounded in the workplace.
  • New business opportunities: A stagnant team does not move forward. However, embracing change could bring up new opportunities with potential clients and partnerships that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. 
  • Stronger company morale: Team members that witness the benefits of new changes will eventually view the company in a more positive light, creating a better work environment. By not being afraid to take a leap, businesses can better retain their employees and build stronger relationships with them in the long run. 

The difference between many companies can be defined by their willingness to try new things. To succeed in oversaturated industries, your business needs to stand out. Embrace innovation and see how quickly you will be leading others behind you. 

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How can I help my team be more open to change? 

One of the main reasons that change leads to opposition is because people want control over change. However, as President John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” 

To initiate change in the workplace, it’s critical to stray away from strictly imposing changes onto your peers. Instead, leaders need to help employees feel a sense of ownership in the change process. Take the following steps to initiate the conversation and steer your colleagues in the right direction. 

Create a sense of urgency surrounding the need for change 

Change is usually encouraged by problems that need to be solved. Whether there is an issue with performance, or a decrease in sales, your colleagues need to be informed of why change is necessary. To push people to support your ideas, try gathering data from previous clients, organizations, projects, and important stakeholders that could promote this sense of urgency. 

Form a leading team 

For change to be a success, strong leadership is critical. When presenting your ideas to a group, try to gain support from the most influential people across all departments of the company. 

By forming a leading team, you’ll be able to solidify the change process as more employees come to trust your knowledge. You will be able to easily engage the rest of the group and get your point across without putting in a copious amount of effort. When more employees in the group are on board, this can influence others to follow. 

Present a vision 

As a change agent, it’s important to showcase a captivating vision of what your company will be investing in. The last thing you want to do is call for change, and show major uncertainty about the steps that are involved. 

What will the future look like for the company? How is this change worth the time, money, and effort being invested into it? Try including a list of the potential benefits that this change will achieve for your team. Ultimately, this will ensure that everyone involved knows exactly what the change will achieve in the long run. 

Communicate the action plan

Now that you’ve established how the company can improve, you want to create an action plan with a list of clear goals. By identifying your intention behind implementing the change, you will be able to communicate the benefits, costs, and risks associated with the change itself. 

By creating a solid argument behind your vision, you will be able to engage your team members and foster more participation and support. 

Pro tip: Ask good questions. By asking detailed questions about their day-to-day tasks, frustrations, and recurring obstacles, you’ll be able to learn what your colleagues are struggling with. Most of the time, people are less resistant to change if you can back yourself up with the right reasons. 

Celebrate short term wins

As you carry out small changes, remember to celebrate short term wins for the company. By doing so, you will be able to highlight direct results of the implemented change and eliminate any feelings of uncertainty. 

The more wins there are, the less likely it is that you’ll have to deal with critics of your idea. This is a great way to ensure that others feel good about moving forward with your ideas. Moreover, this can foster greater participation and help you build leadership skills. The next opportunity you have to shout out specific individuals or strategies, find time to celebrate them. 

Embed new changes into the company culture

Like any other aspect of the workplace, changes to the company need to be embedded into the company culture. Using your leadership team, be sure to present how these new actions have helped improve performance compared to a time without them. 

This process will prove to all company teams that being open to change can help create a more positive working environment, as well as improve staff morale. While the initial steps of change are daunting, making an effort to create a lasting impact on the organization is key to success. 

Be the first to initiate change

Turning your ideas into reality is extremely challenging, especially when others in the group are doubtful of it resulting in success. 

Maybe your company has been using an old process that does more harm than good. Or, maybe the tools that are needed to reduce people’s workloads aren’t as accessible or effective anymore. By developing an action plan with organizational objectives, you’ll be able to maximize benefits and create a positive environment for your team. 

As the world continues to make new developments every day, the key to sustaining work performance is to never lag behind. The change process is not simple, but taking responsibility to manage such changes can help define you as a leader. Not only will initiating change help you build the confidence to lead, but it will also open doors to innovation beyond what your team could only imagine. 

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