The wonderful part of cleaning the old means there is room to introduce the new. When it comes to business and team processes, creating the new can be just as daunting as it is exciting. Change can make employees a little uncertain or confused when approaching tasks they were confident doing before. Whether you are implementing an onboarding process or introducing a new performance management system, keeping your people motivated and upbeat throughout the change can be just as difficult as explaining the new approach.
When things change, we tend to make mistakes or revert back to the old habits the change is supposed to remedy. We may feel inadequate or non-productive, leading to ego deflation. This is where management and leaders should step in. Hopefully, motivating employees is something you work on all year long, but when you hit difficult times, it’s time to step up your game. We decided to see how experts approach motivating employees during times of change or when introducing new processes.
These answers originally appeared on Quora. Some have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Show Individual Value
“Motivating employees starts by recognizing that to do their best work, they must be in an environment that meets their basic emotional drives. Begin with not only being a leader but a companion at the same time. Show them that they aren’t just employees but a high valued part of a team.
Try to empower each individually to do their best with their specific skills and abilities. Keep close contact to employees and try to give feedback as often as possible. Nothing gives more drive than to feel appreciated and have a supportive leader at your side.” -Nora Heer, Founder at Loopline Systems
Application: While creating the plans for new processes or tool implementation, be sure to note some of the challenges you can foresee the team experiencing. For each challenge, consider a person or a team who has the skills to meet similar obstacles. When presenting the new way of working, be sure to mention who to approach with troubles. That way, you empower your employees by recognizing them for their individual strengths while encouraging collaboration. Not to mention, this promotes self-sufficiency aiding your succession planning capabilities.
Just Keep Adapting
“People, unlike products, need sustainable daily engagement. Not like that yearly upgrade that happens with an ERP application! Whatever path you take, you need to be open to change so that you can adapt it to people's needs as they change with time...it is important to have your ear on the ground and listen to them.” -Nishta Gupta, Founder at Fixerline Employers
Application: As employees begin to learn the ropes of new processes, be sure to continue checking in with progress. Schedule smaller performance reviews year round in addition to the large annual review and tap into the tools of your performance management system. Be sure to note any challenges they might be facing so progress can be discussed at the next meeting. It’s important that you are adapting your approach to their struggles as well.
Set Goals and Align
“Achieve alignment between managers and their employees. One easy way to do this is by using a goals management system, which ensures that all team and individual objectives are contributing to and aligned with top-level company goals.
Encourage consistent communication between managers and their employees. Weekly one-on-one meetings that take place between managers and each of their direct employees are extremely efficient because they are brief yet still provide an opportunity to check-in with critical updates on progress, any bottlenecks, etc.” -Nick Ushkov, Atiim, Inc
Application: Once the process or tool is selected, discussed and tested, be sure to set realistic goals for your employees. Do not expect instantaneous results, but do set expectations of how long before you expect to see positive results. It’s important to be sure the changes were actually beneficial to your company, so setting key performance indicators and establishing an open line for communication will distinguish positive process and employee development. Don’t forget to encourage all workers to be honest about what is and isn’t working.
If team dynamics has you hesitant to introduce new processes, let ClearCompany’s performance management system and goal alignment tool ease your mind. It gives a 360 view of collaboration, alignment and performance so there are no surprises for you or your employees.