Anytime a new process is implemented within an organization, it could have an impact on workplace morale. New processes can change the way tasks are performed, alter the organizational structure and sometimes eliminate responsibilities or even jobs. Therefore, it's critical to evaluate employee morale before, during and after a new process is put in place to determine its overall effectiveness.
Planning for a New Process
When introducing a new process, the management team should understand how it will affect current and future employees and the overall organization. A change in process may "shake things up" in the organization for a brief period or require new skill sets and training, which can be troubling for some employees.
Forbes contributor, Mike Myatt, advises that there are "10 points to leading a change initiative," which can be used to ensure a positive process update:
- The change must be accepted and in line with the core values and overarching objectives of the organization.
- The process change should create some kind of leg up as perceived by employees.
- The new process should provide a concrete benefit to the organization and provide a positive ROI.
- The organization must have research prior to implementing a new policy or change, to support the initiative.
- The process should be simple and easy to implement.
- There should be risk management measures in place.
- The process change should have quantifiable results that can show how things are changing for the better.
- The change in process is to be treated as a project in and of itself.
- All change managers should be accountable for their roles, and employees are accountable to use the new process.
- Any process change is immediately carried out from launch day on.
- Plan ahead against potential problems that a new process could create. A small test group of employees is a good way to start understanding and measuring this impact. Watching for changes in the mood and performance of this test group will provide a snapshot of what's to come with the entire organization.
Communicating a New Process to Employees
Preserving positive workplace morale means taking the time to communicate with employees about the change before and after it occurs. For example, when Goldman Sachs wanted to roll out a new parental leave policy, they not only shared this information with employees, but they published this updated policy on the corporate website before it was instated.
Although this new process may seem confusing at first, by explaining it in advance the management team will accomplish two important things:
- Demonstrating respect for employees "right to know."
- Providing enough information to soften the change.
To handle the communication, schedule a group meeting with the employees who will be affected by the new process, using visual aids to illustrate the benefits of the change, and reassure employees that they will benefit from the new process.
Measuring the Effectiveness of a New Process
Once the new process has passed through the test group and been rolled out to the rest of the organization, the first few weeks will dictate its success or failure. Its effectiveness can live and die with how it affects workplace morale. Some methods to monitor its impact on employees are as follows:
- Meeting regularly with work teams to gather feedback and improvement suggestions directly from employees.
- Observing and measuring employee performance as it relates to the new process.
- Conducting periodic evaluations of the process to eliminate potential barriers to success.
- Using employee engagement surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and workplace morale.
With these methods, it's possible to determine the bearing that a process may have on your workplace morale. If the new process is positive, generally employee morale will also be positive in response. If the process is creating friction and as a result negative morale, the executive team will have the available information to evaluate and improve it based on feedback from employees and front line managers.
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