Strategies to Help Work Teams Adapt to Change

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  • 0:03 Work-Related Stress
  • 0:57 How to Guide Teams…
  • 5:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Motivating and encouraging members of work teams through organizational change can be challenging. In this lesson, managers can learn some tips for helping team members successfully navigate change.

Work-Related Stress

Tara hasn't been feeling well. Her stiff neck and sore muscles have given way to headaches and fatigue. Her stomach has been upset for days, and she's not sleeping as well as she usually does. But, Tara doesn't necessarily need a doctor; she needs a different kind of help.

She needs a strong manager at work who can help guide her and her colleagues through the period of organizational change the company is going through. Instead, Tara is suffering from work-related stress because the manager isn't able to properly motivate or encourage their team.

Research shows us that workers who experience change at work are twice as likely to exhibit signs of chronic stress as those who don't. Leadership can play a big part in how members of work teams navigate through periods of uncertainty. In this lesson, we're going to look at some useful strategies for helping work teams adapt to organizational change in a constructive and healthful way.

How to Guide Teams Through Change

Good managers know that their work teams hate change, but they don't resign themselves to the idea that there's nothing they can do about it. They actively seek out ways to motivate and encourage their team to adapt to organizational change and evolving job requirements. Maybe they use one or more of the following strategies. See which ones you think might be most effective.

Offer Direction

Often, in periods of change, employees have a difficult time discerning the direction they're supposed to be headed. That's where a strong team leader comes in. In a team setting, focus on clear communication and repetition of team goals or the company's mission; anything that provides clear direction. This can be accomplished through regular team meetings or team briefings.

Provide Training Opportunities

This is particularly important if changes are impacting the training or skills of existing employees. Giving adequate training opportunities for employees to pick up new skills or brush up on older ones shows a commitment to existing employees by investing in their careers and futures. In a team setting, identify weaknesses and deficiencies and then find the right training, education or coaching to correct those deficiencies.

Practice Reverse Mentoring

Reverse mentoring works by pairing young employees with older employees. Many of the changes happening in today's workforce involve advances in technology that older workers may struggle with. Give them a resource on their work team that can help them navigate changes they are unsure of.

Focus on the Benefits

Like it or not, we live in a ''How does this benefit me?'' culture. Change in the workplace is no different. If the changes your company is implementing will help streamline business processes or help employees with a better work-life balance, accentuate those positives in meetings and other encounters. A study has shown that focusing on the positive outcomes of change rather than the negatives is more likely to help employees feel positive about the direction things are headed.

Offer Incentives

The truth is, most of us are motivated by money, that's why we work! Members of work teams are no different. It may be just a small amount (or even a non-monetary reward), but offering incentives during uncertain times can help keep employees motivated. In a team setting, you could offer everyone a prize when the team completes a goal that's been set for them.

Pull Out the Reports

Few things are as encouraging to a person as seeing the results of their efforts written down in black and white. Provide data that shows the difference the change is having or, better yet, give them information about how their part in implementing the change is making a difference.

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