Change is hard. No matter how young or old your business is, change can be difficult to accept. Even leaders with the best of intentions learn that a policy change could have a drastically different impact on workers than what was intended during the planning phase.
But at the end of the day, change is an inevitable part of running a successful business. That’s why we wanted to share some of the most common reasons leaders may be reluctant to change, along with tips for seeking out and encouraging change within your organization.
Myth #1: “Old habits die hard.”
The truth: “Old habits die hard, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…” As a culture, we’ve come up with kitschy sayings that excuse our inability to adapt. The reality is that old habits are difficult to break, and new ones can be difficult to learn and implement. But if you’re made aware of an issue that’s affecting your employees’ productivity or workplace satisfaction, you really can’t afford not to address those issues head-on.
Our tip: Successfully implementing new policy is complex. But one way we encourage our clients to think through change is to truly consider how a particular change is going to impact the individuals who will be carrying out the new policy — and then ask them for their input.
“When workers feel they have a voice in new policy decisions, they are far more likely to comply with and have a positive attitude about the changes,” said Katherine Vanderford, Director of Customer Success at WorkHound. “Additionally, if a particular change is the result of feedback you’ve received from your team, let them know that. They’ll feel heard and valued and know that their thoughts and ideas are taken seriously — all of which contribute to a healthier, happier workforce.”
Myth #2: “Change is expensive.”
The truth: As with Myth #1, this reason for avoiding change can be true. But if you think change is expensive, let’s talk about worker turnover.
According to the NSI National Health Care Retention and RN Staffing Report, it costs an average of $52,100 to replace a bedside nurse. Consider a scenario in which a festering issue goes unresolved, and four nurses leave within a month of one another. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses — not to mention the loss of experience and organizational knowledge.
Our tip: If you’re considering the human capital cost of putting time into reworking outdated policy or the sticker price of an internal review or feedback system that could enhance transparency and communication within your organization, we challenge you to compare those costs to employee turnover. (We have a hunch that the cost of change won’t seem quite so exorbitant when considered in this light.)
Myth #3: “Our workers never complain, so they must be happy.”
The truth: If your workers aren’t presenting problems to leadership, there’s a good chance they don’t feel their feedback would be well received. In many cases, workers withhold valuable insights because they fear they will be treated differently for sharing candid feedback or because they simply feel it’s a waste of time and energy. This is just one of the reasons why an “open-door policy” might not be enough to earn worker trust.
Our tip: Prompt your employees to offer feedback — and then do something with it.
“Helping employees see that feedback is welcomed and championed takes time,” said Vanderford. “It’s really a trust-building process where people begin to see that you listen, you don’t retaliate if they have negative experiences to share, and you implement changes that support their needs.”
And once you’ve made the change based on worker feedback, be sure to celebrate it by giving your worker feedback the credit it deserves.
Ready to Change?
WorkHound is a great option for employers hoping to understand where to prioritize change while also building a confident feedback culture. Not only does our tool help you collect invaluable anonymous feedback, but our team can help you develop a plan of action for responding to it.