It all started from rumours that their company was at stake. A yet to be revealed investor was said to have bought the company. However, the workers were still kept in the dark about the prevailing circumstance. Doreen Mirembe* was sent into panic because she did not know what would happen. She says a lot of questions kept ringing in her head. She wondered if the new boss would fire her, whether she would be valued.
Mirembe says she was not the only one who felt insecure, her colleagues had the same anxiety.
The issue was resolved when the new company director was introduced to them. He promised not to fire any worker and requested them to adopt to new changes.
Changes at work usually affect employees and employers in different ways. However, one has to devise means of adapting to the change whether it is administrative or structural.
Accept the change
Judith Kabega, a Human Resource Manager at Combined Efforts Uganda Limited, advises that this challenge calls for flexibility. She says being part of the change will help you learn and cope with the new trends. Being rigid will only terminate your relationship with the bosses and workmates.
She adds that you must get rid of fear and remember that change comes with some positivity, so look forward to the positives.
She further advises that you should not forget that change is an opportunity.
“Get involved in new committees and work teams. Be an influencer and driver of change and in that way, you will feel empowered and less fearful,” she advises.
Seek other peoples’ concern
Kabega says communication is always important, especially when you face change. You need details about the change so that you can determine how it affects you. She adds that you should talk to your supervisors, top most boss and co-workers to get their understanding. When dealing with co-workers, however, she advises that you have to bear in mind that news can be distorted when spread as a rumour.
Amon Mutaawe, a former Human Resource Manager at LON Graphics, advises those disturbed by changes at work places to seek guidance from colleagues who have been through a similar experience.
Do a self-assessment
Mutaawe states that you have to list your strengths and weaknesses to find out if you are fit for the change.
Find out the strengths you have, where your skills are wanting and know what to do about it. That is, whether to inform your employer about what you can do better or going ahead to learn.
He adds that naturally, you are forced to learn new skills based on the type of work you have to do for your job. “Make a list of skills that are required for your new role and invest time each week in developing those skills,”
“For each skill, give yourself a deadline to master it so that you can quickly become an expert and increase your value.” Mutaawe adds.
“We all need to plan ahead and prepare for potential threats and dangers in the future by taking the initiative today,” advises Mutaawe. He adds that if you are an employee who did not plan for any change that may arise at your work place, you just need to start at that moment when the change arises. Be quick to learn the new trends so that you are not left behind.
You may opt for short courses or seek assistance from fellow employees who are well versed with what you need to know so as to fit in the working society. Avoid being a load to be pulled all the time. Take an extra mile to learn as soon as possible.
Ask as many questions as possible about the things you do not understand. Peace Kwagala, who was transferred from Kampala to Gulu by her organization, shares her experience, saying: “Everything was new, but work was the same, however I found myself asking colleagues for guidance on what to do because the environment and policies in the new work place differed.”
Become proactive and flexible
Fred Matovu, a proprietor of Smart Designs, says: “In business today, new trends emerge and it is only the pro-active workers that will not be blown away by this wave.”
He advises people affected by change to adopt a “can-do attitude”. Employees need to be alert and informed about trends in their industry.
It is not just subordinates who need to devise ways of adapting to changes. Bosses, too, to adapt to changes
Train and prepare your workers
Wycliff Karisa, a CEO at Zones Events, says as an employee, you should avail opportunities and resources, and teach your employees new skills to prepare them for change Preparation and training can help them adapt more easily into new role.
Take time to watch and listen
Whether it is a major restructuring or an alteration to a well-established procedure, Kabega says change can destabilise your employees and negatively impact the workplace. Sometimes employees will express their anxiety directly to you, but other times their anxiety becomes visible through changes in their behaviour or performance. This she says comes especially in cases where change threatens their comfortable routines.
“As the employer, you have to take steps to deal with the anxiety that you may detect,” She says.
Karisa believes that as a boss, you cannot achieve your goals if employees are not performing at their very best.
Employees, in times of discomfort, look to management for solutions. They seek guidance when they feel uncertain and isolated from organisational decisions that are out of their control.
Show that you truly care about their wellbeing and understand their concerns by doing whatever you can to help them. This not only helps you solve any problems you have direct influence over, but also let them know they can go to you for help.
Be a solution giver
“You cannot fix the things that you have no control over and always uncertainty results from miscommunication or misunderstandings,” says Karisa.
He adds that if, after listening to your employees, you discover an easy solution, then go for it, take the initiative to fix whatever you can as quickly as you can.
Karisa adds that reassuring word or guidance from management can have a profoundly positive impact on employees in times of uncertainty. If problems caused by change are beyond your understanding, avoid promising your employees things you will not fulfil.
Be positive and look for solutions
Kabega advises that it is good to challenge your employees to take initiative and seek out solutions, new ideas, or cost saving ways.
Remember, among the employees you might be having some hidden geniuses who may surprise you with solutions you can rely on.
* Not real name