Your workplace is changing and adopting new strategies. How should you react to it? Read on to find out…
One of the attributes all employees need to have is being able to adapt to change. In this current economy, everyone is moving around from one company or group to the next. We’ve accepted that employees don’t stay in one role for life and one of the challenges that come with that is to handle new situations that you haven’t before. Career progression is no longer well-defined within companies, and career change is the new normal. Unfortunately, change isn’t always easy. A study from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that organizational changes such as restructuring or new leadership can lead to employees who are overly stressed, have less trust in their employers, and have a greater desire to find new jobs. When a change in your workplace threatens your livelihood, that uneasiness can become abject fear and it may, if you let it, tremendously impact your career. Your response to a change in the workplace has a significant impact. Read this blog to know how to react to changes in the workplace.
What are the changes that can occur?
There can be numerous changes that can take place in the organization that can face increasing resistance from its employees. One such change that happens all the time is the change to the organization’s senior management. These are often the results of mergers, acquisitions, buyouts, etc. This often spins the fear of employees being fired from their jobs because of the chances of the new management team bringing new talent. Other changes can also include the adoption of new technologies or systems that reduce the work for humans, such as Artificial intelligence, Warehouse Management systems, Applicant tracking systems, etc. These systems reduce human work tremendously and are likely to face resistance from employees in the fear that they will lose their jobs. So how to react to such changes at your workplace?
Ways for handling the change
Acknowledge the change, not resist
The most important thing to do when change is happening in the workplace is to acknowledge it. Recognizing and accepting change is one of the first steps toward managing it. People have several careers and jobs in their lifetime and companies are constantly moving employees from group to group based on current needs. You will have change happen to you whether you like it or not so you must accept that reality. The good thing about change is that it prevents you from getting bored in your current role and challenges you to work on projects that you haven’t before.
Embrace new opportunities
The silver lining to react to changes in the workplace is an opportunity, often to add new skills to your repertoire or work with new team members. Change often translates to the possibility for those who are willing to embrace it. For example, reorganizations or mergers can create new positions, new divisions or departments, or a chance to create a new job title.
Make an effort to stay connected to previous co-workers and continue to expand your network. Don’t forget about the people you’ve already had the chance to work with because they could become extremely beneficial to you in the future. If you’re like many professionals and haven’t kept in touch with your contacts, don’t hesitate to start up that relationship again. Think of it as a win-win situation — you never know when you might need each other down the road.
When things are changing at work, communication is critical. Any communication gaps can instantly be filled by rumors and speculation, which creates even more fear and uncertainty around the idea of change. If you can effectively communicate your concerns to co-workers and managers within the organization, your anxiety can be better addressed and alleviated.
Maintain a positive attitude
You always have to be optimistic and maintain a good attitude, regardless of what new company, department, or group you’re working with. Come to terms that your new situation might not be perfect but your previous situation probably wasn’t either. Think about how you can best leverage your skills, experiences, and network to maximize your new role. If you have a negative attitude, your new manager and co-workers will notice and they won’t want to work with you.
Take some time to relax and think about what you’ve already accomplished and what your goals are for your new role. Think about what skills you need to acquire, who you need to meet, and assess your entire situation. Talk with your new manager so that they realize what you’re looking to get out of the role and set expectations for the deliverables you’re going to be working on.
Learn new skills
You naturally are forced to learn new skills based on the type of work you have to do for your job. Make a list of skills that are required for your new role and invest time each week in developing those skills. For each skill, give yourself a deadline to master it so that you can quickly become an expert and increase your value.
Help others to cope
In order to react to changes in the workplace in an effective way, realize that chances are you’re not the only one who feels uncomfortable with the change in the workplace. If you can take the focus away from your own situation and direct it toward someone else’s, it will help you cope. Make space for your employees to have personal conversations either in person or using technology like Slack. Invite co-workers out to lunch or for a walk outside so you can discuss the situation. The process of helping others will help you to deal with the stress and adapt more quickly to change.
Face your fears and ask for help when needed
Writing down these fears in an objective form can stop you from dwelling on them. Go through each fear and write down what you would do if that fear came to pass. Knowing you have a plan can really help to defuse the emotional anxiety. The best thing to do is to accept your feelings and then reach out to close colleagues, partners, loved ones, and talk to them about what you are feeling. There is no harm in asking for help.
Continue your work with the bigger picture in mind
It is easy during times of reorganization to sit back and see what will happen tomorrow. It is easy to have that attitude as in some cases the work you are doing might change. However, remember that till you have a new direction you need to focus on achieving your designated goals and tasks and that a great positive attitude should impress a future boss!
Change is inevitable in any organization that you work for. While it can be uncomfortable, there are benefits to a change in the long run. With the right attitude and set of actions, you are sure to sail through any situation. Learn to embrace the changes and let go of your fears, and you will appreciate it for what it is: A chance to grow!
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