We have been working with a business recently, who are going through some significant amount of change in the way they do business and what they expect from their employees. So much so, that the staff have asked their union to get involved because the stress levels have risen dramatically.
Working together, the business and the union have agreed that an independent stress risk assessment was needed for a variety of roles where staff have raised concerns. This involved spending time with all parties to find out much more about what was happening. What was clear from the start was that people tend not to like change and are often mistrusting of the reasons the changes are taking place.
So, is this something your business has experienced and if so how well do you think it has been or is being handled? In today’s fast paced business world, change is clearly inevitable if a business is to survive or even prosper. But with this come the risks of upsetting our most important asset – our staff – and maybe even our customers.
One question we would ask is; did you think about this at the planning stage, when the changes were first being considered, or has the business not really given this much thought? The importance of upfront thinking about the impact of change is to determine how to communicate the new direction of the business in a positive and effective way. To leave it until staff or customers have found out often makes them suspicious and leaves you trying to put things right after the horse has bolted.
Putting the positive aspects to staff at an early stage can help to bring them on board and motivate them to help implement what is needed. Of course, not everyone is able to deal with change, no matter how well you communicate to them, and so you need to plan for this as well.
Workplace stress is reported as accounting for more than 50% of work-related ill health so it’s best not to leave things to chance; be prepared and plan to manage change.