Seven Ways To Get Employees To Change

To improve, there must be change. Even the biggest and most profitable companies are not immune to this need. You either change fast or you will be overtaken by the competition. Nowadays, nobody can rest on his laurels.
The main problem is the strong tendency to maintain the status quo. For many, the devil you know is less fearsome than the devil you do not know. There is no one solution to this problem; what works with some may not be appropriate for another person. The more options a manager knows, the better are his chances to implement change. Check out the seven solutions below if they can be applied in your case:
Check if it is not a situation problem. Oftentimes what you are trying to fix is beyond the person’s control. You may, for example, be thinking that it’s a person’s laziness that’s taking a task too long to accomplish. It may be that he cannot move faster because he has to wait for an approval or needed item before he could proceed. In the case of production workers, the machine may be in need of repair or replacement. If the cause is something beyond the employee’s control, then you will be barking up the wrong tree. In practice, a complicating factor is that frequently, there are problems with both the person and situation. A person is still liable if he does not make the most of a bad situation.
Shuffle employees. If possible, it may be shrewd to change the location position of certain people you believe are hindrances. You may wish to isolate a perennial troublemaker who has made a career out of making things hard for management by putting him in a position where he cannot oppose the changes.
Improve the current incentives. Many variables affect the effectiveness of incentives. It may be that competitors have begun to offer much better incentives. Perhaps, too, the current rewards are no longer that enticing, either because it was the same old thing or employees’ standards have risen. I have noticed that a major factor for the change in employee attitude to the rewards is when the company has grown or when the employee has reached a certain level of seniority. Here, the perception of management and employees radically change. While management focuses mainly on productivity and competence as the basis for added compensation, many employees want the number of years employed as the standard.
Be the role model. Many people think that because they are the owner or the manager, they are exempted from the rules. Legally you may be correct, but few of your subordinates will not be affected by this attitude. Usually, the saying that the water cannot rise higher than its source happens. A boss who is frequently tardy without reason would find it extremely difficult to expect his employees to time in early. Make it easier to change. Sometimes the situation problem itself prevents or hinders change.
Make it easier to effect this change! One example of this is a certain hi-tech company that wanted its employees to interact more with each other so that ideas from different departments would be shared. What they did was to set up common areas for dining and other activities where previously each department had its own space.
Remind repeatedly about the need for change. Repetition is crucial because it serves three major purposes: First, people forget so reminding them is necessary. Second, the more you repeat, the greater the perception of its importance. Third, when the time comes that you have to institute disciplinary action on the recalcitrant, you have more justification.
Ask the employees themselves. Sometimes the best way is to go the direct route by asking the employees themselves on how best to accomplish the desired changes. What is powerful about this approach is that even if you have thought of the same thing, if it came from them, they are under pressure to comply since it is their solution. However, you must foremost be aware that employees would not be inclined to support changes that may diminish their discretion, perks and privileges, or bring added work unless there are corresponding benefits.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, October 7, 2012. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.