Implementing business change, although at times essential, can be a very unsettling period for employees. Therefore, it is important employers consider: how the message of organisational change is delivered to their workforce; and what might assist the employees in adapting to change without placing them under undue stress.
Here are three potential employee factors that may occur if business change isn’t managed effectively.
The American Psychological Association’s Work and Wellbeing (2017) study found that 55 per cent of people who had experienced business change at work reported feeling chronic stress, compared with only eight per cent having such symptoms when they weren’t experiencing changes at work.
Employees will not always adapt well to the changes being implemented and it is inevitable some will seek employment elsewhere. This can lead to employees having low morale and subsequent poor productivity and, if it really takes a hold, it can have a negative impact on the productivity of the entire workforce. It may also lead to a loss of key employees, leaving a talent shortage that will take a subsequent costly recruitment drive to resolve.
If business change is not implemented effectively, employees may also feel less motivated at work, potentially resulting in increased absenteeism and a subsequent hit on productivity.
While communication and staff participation are key to any successful business change, the introduction or fine tuning of the company’s employee benefits package can provide reassurance and show the appreciation employees crave. Below are just a couple of examples of how to support your staff through a period of change.
When it comes to the impact of mental stress – and with senior employees often being the chief advocates for the proposed business change, making it difficult for employees to approach them with their concerns – an employee assistance programme (EAP) can provide the confidential, round-the-clock support staff need.
EAPs can include a mental health assessment, counselling (telephone and face-to-face) as well as referral services for the employee and their family. Having this support available should help employees deal better with business change, and also demonstrates how the employer values the health and wellbeing of their workforce.
During times of significant business change, employees naturally fear for their job security as well as the potential financial implications of the changes. If employees are already not managing their finances effectively, the added uncertainty provided by business change could lead them to feeling overwhelmed with stress, leaving them unable to carry out their job to the best of their abilities.
According to Nudge Global’s financial education the definitive guide (2015) research, 70 per cent of people admit to spending time thinking about their finances instead of working. Therefore, providing financial education to your employees can mitigate their concerns around their financial situation as well as highlight that you, as the employer, are investing time and money into their health and wellbeing. And it works – Nudge found that 74 per cent of HR and benefits professionals said that financial education improves employees performance.
To conclude, it is clear business change is always going to be difficult – it is therefore paramount employers pay close attention to the impact this can have on their employees and the subsequent productivity of the business.
The benefits outlined above are just a few examples of what employers can provide to employees to help with any business change. By using a dedicated benefits provider you can ensure that your employee benefits package is tailored to your organisation’s individual needs. They can also help to maximise employee engagement with the benefits package by delivering a bespoke communication strategy suitable for your staff and business.