Transition periods for companies can be the passages of time for heroes to stand up and be counted. In this period of uncertainty, team leaders stand between employees and the smooth running of a business.
When ownership is changing within a company, it can prompt prolonged periods of unrest. Workers want to know if their job and the existing company structure is safe, managers could be changing roles, and staff turnover could occur.
As a team leader, successfully navigating this period could be a significant test of character that new owners may be keen to see in their existing staff.
During these times, it’s vital that you, as a leader, can be capable of guiding your team through these chaotic periods.
Fortunately, while it’s worth noting that every business and potential changes are different, there are some consistent trends that we can learn from in order to ensure that we can create a successful transition period for your business and its staff. Let’s explore 5 key things for leaders to keep in mind during a business transition period:
Communication is Essential
It’s imperative that you ensure that you communicate effectively to your teams during this period of change. Everyone associated directly with the business deserves to know what’s changing and what isn’t changing – as well as who will and won’t be impacted.
Team leaders must look to communicate in multiple ways, with emails, video calls, meetings, town halls, social media and face-to-face methods utilised. It’s important to say what needs to be said and repeat it over and over to ensure that there’s no ambiguity as to what’s going on.
Transition periods create levels of uncertainty that not even team leaders can always keep on top of. Be sure to caveat the things you say by explaining that you’re ‘giving today’s truth, it may change tomorrow,’ and ‘this is what I know is changing, this is what I know isn’t changing.’
Many younger and older employees lack an understanding of their company’s strategies and expectations for them. This indicates that you’re communication methods need to be adaptive enough to address individuals who have varying interpretations of the company and what it does. Essentially, it’s vital to say what you need to in multiple ways using different tools to underline your points.
Add That Personal Touch
Be sure to get to know your team members individually. Set up meetings with more informal talking points. Ask your team how they are feeling about the transition, what’s going well for them and what they would like to see done differently.
Doing this helps to give you a chance to identify the character of the individuals on your team, and how they are feeling about the uncertainty on a more personal level. Doing this can help you to learn how best to notify them with updates and how to break challenging news to them.
Additionally, these personal meetings can help your team by making them feel safer and more actively involved in the transition – relieving some of the stress that comes along with these moments.
Establish Goals and Schedules
Setting daily and weekly goals and following a schedule can help to instil a sense of organisation into the company at a time when things may be feeling a little unfamiliar. Be sure to set deadlines and regular meetings – whether they’re remote or in-person – at the same points on a daily or weekly basis as a means of generating familiarity.
The goals and schedules can be as arbitrary as possible, and as simple as just notifying you about emails sent or any other job-specific facet.
Such schedules should align with traditional working hours in the office and should allow for break and lunchtimes. By incorporating more commonplace schedules in a working day, employees can be made to feel more comfortable and settled during transition periods.
The value of any business leader can be measured by looking into his or her ability to manage expectations. When leading a department through a significant level of change, managing employee expectations is more critical than most other day-to-day duties.
Clarify what’s expected from employees, and work to understand what they expect from you and the speculation surrounding the company. Act quickly to reassure them or address some of their expectations that may be inaccurate.
Establish Succession Plans
Career planning is an ongoing process that acts to bridge the gap between current lines of employment and the next opportunities within the company and beyond. During transition periods, staff roles may change and business structures altered. Due to this, it’s worth designing succession plans to aid the team in achieving its goals.
Be sure to nurture talent by matching career goals with available or upcoming opportunities for employees.
Although transition periods can be times of great upheaval within companies, it’s also an opportunity for team leaders to shine and showcase their abilities in keeping staff calm and happy during times of corporate uncertainty. In this case, a great challenge can manifest itself as an excellent chance to demonstrate your value to the company as it takes on a new direction.