How to Talk to Co-workers About Change
One thing that my company knows a lot about is change. From moving our location, to fighting cancer, divorce and death, we’ve learned to adapt to change. When your company is experiencing change, you may need to talk to your co-workers and other individuals with whom you are close, in order to process what is happening. After all, this can be a stressful time for you, and you’ll probably find support in speaking with co-workers.
While it’s indeed good to talk to others about how you’re feeling after hearing about the organization’s transformation or restructuring, there are ways to drive these conversations so that they are more impactful. This will enable you to have more productive discussions that can improve your changes of successfully tackling your changing worklife, which can ultimately lead to greater job satisfaction.
Here are three strategies you can follow when talking to your co-workers about change:
1. Listen to and be empathetic to others
If major changes to your office or personnel have just been announced, chances are you and many others you know have been affected. What’s important to realize, is that your colleagues may have been impacted differently than you.
Therefore, it’s critical that you spend some time listening to each another and opening up about what you’ve been told, how you’re feeling and what your approach will be going forward. For example, someone you know at your company may have just found out they’re being let go, along with many others from a specific department. Meanwhile, you may have learned that your own team overperformed and will be expanding. It’s important that you act empathetically and show an understanding of and respect for your co-workers’ situation. Think about how you would feel if the situation were reversed and you were the one who was being laid off.
Regardless of the situation, neither party should jump to any conclusions or assume anything about anyone. The last thing you want to do during a difficult period of organizational change is to cause your co-workers to feel alone or ostracized.
2. Be actionable and get answers to your question
After you’ve spoken with your co-workers and received information from your supervisor, you may still feel like you have unanswered questions. If so, don’t shy away from getting more details about the upcoming change. While your company should be as transparent as possible during this transitional period, they may have missed some key points or been unable to share how you or your team will be specifically affected on a day-to-day basis.
It’s never a good thing to be argumentative, so figure out a way to approach management and leadership in a positive, respectful manner. Speaking with your co-workers and others is one way to help you determine the best way to move forward. For example, you could structure a brainstorm session with your co-workers about how to approach company leadership in order to achieve a certain goal you have in mind or to get answers to a certain question. By being organized and specific, you’re likely to get more response to your concerns and more answers to your questions — which may go a long way to assuaging feelings of anxiety or nervousness in the coming weeks.
3. Embrace change and seek opportunity
After you’ve learned to lean on your co-workers for support and have reached out to leadership for actionable answers, it’s now time to embrace the upcoming change and see what is actually in store for you.
Although organizational change can have a negative connotation, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad thing. Look for opportunities over the next few months to make yourself invaluable to your organization. By focusing on your friendships with co-workers and keeping an open mind, you’ll be primed for success and advancement instead of unmotivated and uninspired.