10 Tips HR Managers Are Implementing for Change in the Workplace
Here’s how to successfully implement new policies in your company.
Here's what you need to know:
- Not all employees are receptive to change, so it’s important to have a plan of action when implementing a new policy
- Identify necessary changes that align with your company’s goals
- Determine which groups the policy will affect most
- Clearly communicate new rules and ensure they’re in writing
- Seek out feedback after implementing policies
- Update and revise policies when necessary
The hiring landscape has changed dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Candidates not only have their pick of the best businesses on the market but their expectations for a workplace are changing as well.
While job seekers are making huge waves in the hiring pool, existing employees — those who have been around for much longer than just a few years — are having to see in real-time how those changes are affecting their job. An agile business plan is the best way to be proactive in preparing for the future of your business.
Here are 10 tips that HR managers are using to implement change in the workplace.
10 tips to implement policy change in your workplace
Policy changes are made to set realistic expectations for employees, and guide them in how to handle challenges as they arise. Regulations are not always hard and fast rules (although some are). However, they do provide barriers to what is appropriate and inappropriate in certain situations.
While policy changes are rarely ever done without incredible thought and research, not all employees are receptive to change. Additionally, it’s vital to introduce regulation shifts in the best way possible for what works for your teams. This list is meant to be a guide of tips for you to pick up on as you plan to deploy these new concepts.
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Take note of what policy changes your company needs
Do you see gaps or needs in your business that would be better served with a new policy? First, identify a necessary change that aligns with your company’s overall goals.
No one is a better expert on the needs of their business than an HR manager.
No one is a better expert on the needs of their business than an HR manager. You know where the business could do better financially, what competitors are doing, and what can attract better candidates. Use this knowledge to inform how best to implement change.
Do an impact survey to determine the groups that the policy will affect
To know how a new policy will impact the company and how aligned the idea is, ask your employees. Not only will you have a better idea of the kind of resistance you may meet if you deploy the change, but the policy serves the needs of the business. You’ll know who will need the most training and what groups will be impacted the most by the change.
Be clear about why you are introducing the policy in the first place
Understanding the full scope of the policy you’re about to introduce to the company will help inform why it’s important to your employees. Not only will clarity help you deploy the new regulation to the teams more efficiently but it will show employees why they should care in the first place. It will also get them on board more quickly.
For example, a new digital workflow is introduced to the marketing team. The safety protocol they need to follow to protect the company’s information and that of your customers is vital. While they could do the same job without as many steps, this policy will ensure the safe transfer of information that benefits everyone.
Determine how you will deliver the new policy information
Language in a company policy is vital. You want to ensure it’s written with some flexibility built in. For example, you want to avoid ultimatum language like “always” or “must” unless you intend to write rigid rules.
You may want to write a rigid policy for smoking while on the job or while on a video call. On the other hand, you may want to use more flexible language about where an employee can work if you run a hybrid or remote workspace.
You want to ensure it’s written with some flexibility built in.
You can start with a purpose statement that outlines what the policy is about. Follow that with a clarifying section where you flesh out the details of the policy. Clear up any language confusion and describe how the new rule will be implemented. This will help give clear, black-and-white guidance to your employees on how the new policy affects them and what they need to do about it.
Pull in stakeholder support for new policies
Oftentimes, getting a policy moving is having support from other members of the leadership team. Once the policy document has been drafted, communicating (through email, chat, or video conferencing) the plan to leadership will be the best way for the rest of the team to follow suit. Leadership will not only be able to exemplify what the policy is meant to look like in real-time but also answer any questions their teams have along the way.
Make a plan for how to implement new policies
Once you know what your policy will look like in action, the team members that will support you, and why this policy change will benefit your teams, make a plan for executing the information. You know your employees best because, for the most part, you were part of the reason they got hired. Have a plan for both how to deploy the information and enforce the new change.
Depending on the scope of the change you deploy, you may need to introduce it in waves. Have a plan for who will support employees with the transition. Your impact assessment identified the groups who will be more affected by the change. Coach these employees most as you introduce the policy.
Clearly communicate the details of new policies with employees
Not everyone will take the new policy and run with it. Some need a “why” behind the “do.” Being open and honest about why the policy was written in the first place and what the new expectations are will help motivate employees to take on the change.
Know how your teams like to communicate and how they’ll receive the information. While a company-wide video call is helpful, you should also put the policy in writing and send it to the appropriate teams.
Having a written reference for employees to go back and check will help avoid any misunderstanding or forgetting of the policy over time. It’s also vital that you keep your HR team open to questions as teams get used to the new information and challenges that arise.
Having a written reference for employees to go back and check will help avoid any misunderstanding or forgetting of the policy over time.
A great way to ensure everyone is on board and has read and received the new policy information is to mandate a written or digital signature at the bottom of the document.
Update and revise policies when necessary
Businesses shift and change — especially when they’re agile — over time. That means that the needs of the company and the policies that guide them will need to shift as well. Building inflexible language will ensure a more evergreen policy. However, sometimes, revising a rule to better fit the goals of your organization is vital as well.
Anticipate obstacles when implementing policies
Knowing your teams well will inform how a new policy will be received. Do you have team members who are more committed to their workflow than others? Is the new regulation a clear need for the business that everyone will understand the importance of or will it come as a surprise?
While getting stakeholders and leadership on board with the policy change can help in communication, know that some team members will not be as welcoming. Have a plan to address those concerns in a way that will resonate with them.
Seek out feedback after implementing policies
Once the policy has been implemented and, for the most part, everyone has taken to the new change, seek feedback. Learn more about how employees are rolling with the shift and what could have been done better in the process.
Even with all the planning in the world, it’s impossible to predict how a change will be received. Asking for feedback will inform the next policy change. It will also empower your employees to have a say in what happens in the business. Ensuring the entire business is on board with changes can help bring teams closer together. It can also help them to work in a unified group toward the betterment of the company.
Celebrating change in the workplace
Implementing change in the workplace is never just a straightforward task. It takes time management and a lot of consideration for how the shift will be received. Businesses have dealt with a lot of changes over the past few years. Moving forward with grace and empathy is the best way to honor your employees with another policy change.
Maintaining open communication and recognizing the impact changes have on teams are 2 excellent ways to show that you care about the needs of your teams. The way you introduce new shifts to the business will inform employees of the reality of your company culture. This is what the pillars you stand your business morals on really look like in practice. Make sure you are setting the right example for the standards you hold.
For more tips on how to keep your employees engaged, check out our eBook or contact us directly for questions on how to uplevel your HR team.