How to deal with change in your industry

Managing change

Short read: 1 minute

In a decision that’s been pending since 2015, the Fair Work Commission has ruled that penalty rates for hospitality and retail workers on Sundays should be cut from double time to time and a half.

This is a substantial change and has emotional and practical impacts for the people affected.  And this news is a timely reminder about how important it is for us as leaders to manage change effectively.

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher is quoted as saying: “change is the only constant in life”. Even if you’re not in the retail or hospitality industries, it’s certain that eventually change will come to your industry. When it does, it’s important to have a plan in place to manage the change and guide your team through it.

Managed effectively, change can be a gateway to improvement in your team’s culture and your service offering.

Some good general change management principles are:

  1. Stay human

Being authentic is one of the most highly honoured traits of great leaders as it helps to build trust and rapport.  Your employees are people – try not to lose sight of that as you balance books and numbers. Be open and transparent, as much as possible, about what the plans are for the future. And speak clearly – using jargon like “redeployment of assets” when you simply mean you’ll have to cut hours from the roster will win you no fans. You may like to ensure you have a workplace support program in place for significant change or make time for one-on-one discussions with employees who may be affected.

  1. Lead from the top

Without a strong leader your new initiative or strategy will fall flat. Whatever your title: boss, supervisor, CEO or foreman, people will be looking to you to guide them through this transition. If you’re telling your team that they need to act a certain way – you do too. Equip and empower your senior team with the tools and resources they need to flow the change down from the top. And be prepared to be the bad guy sometimes – leaders make tough decisions.

  1. Communicate often and communicate early

When people don’t understand why change is needed they have barriers to accepting it. Regardless of whether it’s change you can’t control from an external force – for example, new legislation, or change you want to enact internally, talking about why it’s necessary is key. Have consistent and clear key messages prepared and talk about the process with your employees often and early.  It’s important to recognise that your team won’t have had as much time as you to digest the info so it’s important to step your team through this and you may need to plan several discussions.

There are many models that you can use for managing change. The Lewin Change Management Model is an easy to understand three-step guide you may like to check out.

The model is based around the principle of “unfreezing, change and refreezing”. You can read more about that model here.

Your team can be your greatest advocate for change if you stay human and be authentic, lead from the top and communicate often and early.

Is your organisation going through change, or are you affected by the change to penalty rates? Atticus Business Accountants can help guide you through this process – give us a call on 07 4642 5800.

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