Getting your staff on board when you want to make a change can be tough. I’m sure you’re used to the groans and complaints every time you want to bring in a new software or procedure. Even though the end result could make things much easier for your staff, it can be hard for them to focus on that. Instead all they’re thinking is “I DON’T WANT TO CHANGE”. Here we’ll talk about how to get your team to happily go along with changes, even suggest them.
Step 1. HOLD WORKSHOPS TO PROBLEM SOLVE
Workshops are an excellent method to focus your mind and everyone else’s on solutions and improvements within your firm. They also help your team bond and create a more united vision for the company. Why? Because they’re interactive and engaging, rather than you talking and them listening. When you create an environment where staff feel like their problems and ideas are being listened to, they’re much more likely to get on board.
To hold an effective workshop, all of you staff should work together on a problem. lf you are a small or medium-sized firm, you can invite every employee to participate. You never know from where the big ideas are going to come from. Sometimes receptionists offer excellent solutions to problems in other departments because they are the first point of contact with your clients. Large firms can hold workshops for every department to avoid them getting too big.
How to organize workshops:
- Have your team brainstorm a list of problems. Ask every person in the room to give three examples of how to improve the firm. Once you have the list, you’ll have the ideas for upcoming workshops. Each one gets it’s own workshop.
- Each workshop will create policies and procedures to solve the problems. Designate someone to create a post-workshop memo for each workshop with the steps on how to deal with that in the future. The memo should also go into a procedure binder, which becomes a training manual for new people.
- If you test and replace parts of the original procedure, replace the old memo with the new one.
Step 2. BE CONSISTENT WITH TRAINING
Improving and advancing the skills and professionalism of every person in your firm is an ongoing process, and formal training sessions should be regular and non-negotiable. The only way to see results from training is to provide them consistently. Most training programs come in and do an intense few days of training with a ton of information. When it’s over things appear to have improved. However, after a few days or weeks staff slowly reverts to their old habits without consistent reinforcement.
By rotating core material regularly, the same concepts are reinforced and create a permanent change. Don’t be afraid to teach the same information again and again, just rotate between topics.
To keep the training sessions more interesting, try out different formats. Remember, people retain the most information when there are actively involved. You could try:
- Role playing (useful in client relations training)
- Group questions
- Group discussion
- Demonstration training
- Case studies
- Have different people teach training material (instead of always you). Teaching something allows people to really learn it. It also gives people an increased sense of purpose and eliminates the class division between “authoritative boss” and passive audience.
STEP 3. TAKE TIME TO PLAN
To avoid distractions in training sessions and increase the efficacy, make sure you let employees know ahead of time the details of the session. Stay firm on the agenda and end time so people reliably know that you’re serious about efficiency and not wasting everyone’s time. Send out an email before the meeting with the following details:
- What will be covered
- How long it will take
- How the information will be covered
- The objection of the particular session
- The obtained skill you hope they will gain
Laura Berthiaume is the cofounder of Email Stopwatch, (http://emailstopwatch.com), an email management tool allowing managers and users to passively track all the time spent in Outlook. You can reach her with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org