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While going through a period of change it is important for HR not to assume they know how the employees are feeling. Although it sounds obvious, it is incredibly important for the people tasked with maintaining employee engagement to talk one to one with as many employees as possible, figuring out the main grievances and putting them at ease.
All too often HR can end up feeling like they’re on the front line during periods of change and it sometimes creates an ‘Us vs Them’ attitude. It is important that while engaging with employees people tell it how it is. Ultimately engagement comes from a mutual trust between the organisation and it’s employees and the employees need to know the truth. Have open and honest conversations, if you can’t guarantee job security; don’t.
We all know that change is messy and nothing goes exactly to plan, however, from an engagement perspective it is important to have the ultimate end goal in mind. Although it is still important to be flexible and reactive, broadly sticking to an overarching strategy helps when things get uncertain. Despite this it is pointless sticking to a strategy that is clearly not working.
Middle management can often feel like they are at the centre of it all throughout a period of change. They are on the front line when delivering the change, while not necessarily having any say in the decision making at the top. To keep your employees engaged make sure you look after the squeezed middle. After all, they are the most important factor in keeping an engaged workforce.
Nobody likes the uncertainty that comes with a period of change, however, if paired with the above tips, some appreciation goes a long way. Even if the long-term future is unclear never underestimate the impact of showing appreciation for the effort being put in, in the present. Engagement is as much down to the small, every day, interactions as the overarching frameworks so appreciate that everybody is doing their best.
Blog written by: Kieran Roche, HR Recruitment Consultant at Williams Kent Ltd
28th March 2018
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