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At some point in our lives, we’ve all been afraid of change. Whether our fears were based on reality or not, the possibility of the unknown has sometimes terrified humans since the beginning of time. It should come as no surprise, then, that our employees would potentially dread the possibility that their job, one of the most important aspects of their lives, could suddenly become unfamiliar. We’ve all heard the speech where big changes are coming, and they’re going to be GREAT! Except we haven’t had a say in what those changes are or how they come about. Studies have shown that employees who are engaged in the company and are willing to help it adapt are superior employees. The question becomes:

How do you increase engagement with your employees?

It only makes sense that employees who are excited for change are more effective than the frightened ones who don’t want to lose the devil they know for the devil they don’t. The answer to the question starts with a simple word: dialogue.

When we take the time to discuss changes with our employees, including how they will be implemented, time frames, and where each can expect to be at the end of those changes, we let them know we are taking their thoughts into account. Plus, we ask for their dialogue in return. How do they feel about the change? What are their concerns for the finished product? Is there any part of the process of adaptation they are uncomfortable with? What are their suggestions to make the changes more effective?

When we open that dialogue, we’re not just telling them what we think they need to know. We’re giving them a chance to communicate their own thoughts with us, and we all feel better when we believe we’re being heard and our opinions are considered.

Ultimately, we can put together a detailed action plan that maps out the processes and engagement strategies so each person knows what is going on and what role they will have in the upcoming modifications. If the lines of communication between leaders and employees remain open, effective changes can be made more easily and quickly.

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