Posts Tagged ‘change’

Leading Through a Crisis

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins identifies poor leadership qualities and imparts information on how to rise above them during chaotic times.

Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In the life of every business, there will be times when the organization will experience a crisis and the quality of its leadership will be tested. Strong, mature and experienced leadership during a crisis is certainly preferred. Poor leadership can quickly turn a crisis into a catastrophe. Even if the organization survives the crisis, the lasting effects of poor leadership can be felt long after the crisis is over.

Below are some of the behaviors that can define poor leadership, and how to overcome them:

Excessive Optimism

Being optimistic about solving a problem is all fine and good. However, some leaders are too optimistic that a problem will either solve itself over time or that someone else is handling it once it has been identified. Action is necessary to solve any problem and many problems cannot be solved overnight. Strong leadership involvement, with the ability to make decisions and take action, is necessary to demonstrate attention to any crisis.

Denial

Some leaders are under the false impression that a problem is not already well-known throughout the organization and if they deny its existence it will no longer be a problem. News, especially bad news, can spread through an organization like wildfire. Strong leaders never underestimate the intelligence of their employees. The best strategy in a crisis is to come forward and provide your employees with as much information as you can, reassuring them you are aware of the problem and have a plan for resolving it.

Trial and Error Is NOT a Crisis Strategy

This approach may work well in the development of a new product line or in the research end of your business. Some leaders use this strategy as a way to resolve a crisis. When finding themselves in a crisis scenario, strong leaders resist their first reaction and assemble a team of top management to work out a plan – quickly and efficiently. A clear direction with measurable results will keep your employees engaged and confident.

Ignore Common Sense

Over-reaction or panic can make a bad situation worse. When faced with crisis, our instincts are to fight or flee, neither of which will help. Seasoned leaders will simply slow-down, look objectively at the issues and apply simple common sense as to how to handle the problem. Common sense may be as simple as defining the problem in smaller, more manageable pieces or seeking the advice of peers.

Manage in a Vacuum

Poor leaders will sometimes try to solve a problem on their own without enlisting the help of others. This can spell disaster in a crisis. A strong leader recognizes when they need help and knows exactly what skills they need in a particular situation. The objective is not just to solve the problem, but to solve the problem in the best way possible. Many problems have multiple solutions and these must be vetted to determine which is best.

Blame Others

Leaders who spend more time blaming others and less time solving the problem simply appear weak to their employees. There will be plenty of time after the crisis is over to determine where the process failed and how to prevent it from happening again. Now is the time for strong leadership to assume responsibility and make themselves accountable for resolving the problem.

Cracking the Whip

Trimming expenses, cutting benefits or demanding more productivity are sometimes the reactions from poor leadership simply because they do not know what else to do and think this will somehow magically fix the problem. It is not likely the entire employee population caused the problem and they know that as well. Knee-jerk reactions will send a message of blame and uncertainty across the organization. Instead, hold meetings with employees to recognize the issue at hand and to stress that everyone is in this together and that together a solution will be found and implemented.

It can be lonely at the top, but it does not have to be. The most successful people surround themselves with other successful people. Recognize there are people who can help you in a crisis and never assume you know all the answers. Treat your employees as intelligent, hard-working people who have as much interest in the organization’s well-being as you do. Slow down, think clearly and apply common sense to any problem to make it more manageable. Strength does not always show itself as fast and loud. Often a calm and deliberate approach is the best way.

Change Is Inevitable in the Workplace—Are You Prepared?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

May 13 quote blog

Many changes are taking place in the business world. The full effects of healthcare reform will soon come to fruition, the competition for top talent still rages on with no plans for stopping, and your employees are looking for better ways to manage both their responsibilities at work and outside of it.

How will you handle the changes that you and your organization face? In order to continue to achieve success at your business, or even just to stay afloat, you must start by creating a plan to address your most pertinent issues.

Review the following articles for help handling the changes that you and other employers will likely see:

Changes in Healthcare Reform

Are you interested in knowing the top healthcare issues of 2013 and how they will affect employers? Our benefits partner, HCW Employee Benefit Services, put together an article highlighting this information. Check it out here: http://blog.capital.org/the-top-10-healthcare-industry-issues-of-2013-how-they-will-affect-employers/.

Compete for Top Talent and Win

Many organizations are struggling to find high-performing talent to fill their open positions. If you aren’t finding the right candidates, you may want to review your hiring process. Finding an excellent employee isn’t something you can attain quickly. Just like other projects you work on, you must have a solid plan for securing top achievers. Here’s an article to help: http://blog.capital.org/smart-recruiting-is-the-key-for-securing-top-talent-4-helpful-tips/.

Dealing with Workplace Change             

Changes in the business world aren’t just affecting employers; they are also affecting your workforce. Understanding the concerns your employees may have about various workplace changes is important for growing your organization with a loyal team.  Review this article to gain strategies for helping your staff deal with company changes:  http://blog.capital.org/help-employees-deal-with-workplace-changes/.

Employees Crave Work/Life Balance

Engaged employees help drive the business results that you want. They are productive team players who strive for excellence. Their work life is important, but so is the life they’ve established outside of your company. Help them manage both well. When you do, you’ll see a number of benefits. Read more about them here: http://blog.capital.org/help-your-employees-achieve-and-maintain-worklife-balance/.

For additional advice or information for dealing with change at your workplace, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

4 Tips to Help Your Employees Succeed Through a Merger or Acquisition

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Several ideas pop into the minds of employees when they learn that their company is planning a merger or acquisition with another organization. Staff members worry about being laid off, not getting salary increases and competing with unknown talent. Their anxiety for the workplace transition reveals itself in their assignments and interactions with their coworkers. Managers often have several battles to deal with as they try to control emotional employees and dispel nonsensical rumors.

Mishandling this sensitive process can affect your business negatively. Absenteeism, loss of key employees, low morale and low productivity are some of the damaging consequences for not addressing a merger or acquisition appropriately.

Preparation is imperative for keeping your organization composed. The following four tips should help your organization navigate through the transition of a merger or acquisition with less difficulty:

1. Make Leadership Present

Forming a strong leadership team with members from both sides of the merger or acquisition will help smooth out the kinks of the transition. When both sides align to share the same vision, mission and strategy, employees have a solid support team to turn to. Before the transition is announced, make sure you indentify the key leadership players and begin to strategize steps to handle the change gracefully.

2. Communicate Often and Through Several Channels

To combat rumors and twisted facts, create a solid communications plan for your employees, leadership and other key stakeholders, such as customers and board members. Remember that your employees will want to know more than the details of the merger. They’ll want to know how their job will be affected, what their benefits will look like and who will manage them. Cascade messages through a variety of channels to ensure your stakeholders receive them. Additionally, practice two-way communication and readily take questions and suggestions from your team members.

3. Align Culture and Business Processes

A merger or acquisition requires the blending of two companies with distinct cultures and ways of completing work. Similar to your communications plan, knowing how you want to cultivate your organization’s environment early on will help you get your workforce on board. Carefully plan your new business processes before the transition takes effect. Educate your staff on the new changes and how they might affect their workflows. Communication is again important when telling employees that aspects of their job could be significantly altered. Always keep them in the loop.

4. Take Care of Employees

Agreeing to merge with or acquire another organization may benefit your company financially, but it could hurt other areas of your business, specifically your talent. News of a merger or acquisition can leave even your star performers feeling nervous about their fate and the new set of employees they’ll have to work with. The period before the official transition is a great time for competitors to pluck your top talent. Prevent this from happening by involving your staff through the transition process and getting them to understand how their role will fit into the changing organization. Develop a retention strategy, such as stay-bonuses or packages, to make sure your stellar staffers don’t become enticed by competition.  For employees you won’t be able to retain, let them leave the organization with dignity. Provide them with services to help them stay on their feet, such as resume reviewing. Additionally, show them that you appreciated their service by offering them a generous severance package.

For additional strategies to assist your workforce through a merger or acquisition, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Souce: Victor1558

Help Employees Deal with Workplace Changes

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

“It can be hard to change, but it is even harder to fail,” CAI’s CEO, Bruce Clarke, says in his most recent News & Observer column, The View from HR.

Bruce says surviving in today’s workplace requires the ability to smoothly adapt and thrive in different business scenarios. He says successful employees embrace change and look forward to the next disruption. They don’t hold onto methods that aren’t beneficial to workflow processes or impede a company’s progress in improving a new system. These resilient workers are flexible, quick thinkers and decisive when needed.

In his Sunday column, Bruce references the days when employees who resisted change were accommodated in the workplace. Those days are over, however. To continue to achieve positive business results, your organization must be able to modify its goals and strategies as different circumstances arise, such as a recession or a shortage of valuable talent. Similar to the organization, your employees must be able to land on their feet no matter the workplace situation they face.

Use the information below to help lead your workforce through a change initiative.

Dealing with Company Change

  1. Explain why the change is necessary for the organization. Include the benefits, potential disadvantages and major adjustments an employee might experience as a result from the change. Allow employees to ask questions about the upcoming changes and voice any concerns that they might have. Try hard to answer their questions and reassure them that you will help them throughout the endeavor.
  2. Frequently communicate when the change will occur and how company processes and employee roles might be transformed. Utilize several forms of communication, including company internet, email, newsletter and staff meetings, to ensure that all staff members understand the change and know when it will happen.
  3. Pay attention to staff members who are having an especially hard time adapting to your company’s new change. Talk them through any difficulties they may be facing. Partner them with a staff member who is handling the changes well. If possible, permit these anxious employees to deal with the change gradually.
  4. Be patient throughout this process. Getting all staff members up to speed with a new initiative or the latest technology takes time. Do not expect your employees to be experts in their new assignments over night. Changes are about learning as well. Allow employees to make mistakes to learn and grow in their positions.

If you would like additional information and tips on helping your employees embrace change at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558