Today’s business landscape means that no two days are the same. Industries are changing; you’ve probably learned that if your business doesn’t adapt, you could all too easily be left in your competitor’s dust. But where does that leave your employees? As you adapt to a changing landscape, you expect your employees to follow suit. As roles change, however, you might find that you’re inadvertently tapping into their greatest fears: becoming obsolete.
What you perceive keeping up with competitors and staying agile could read as no longer needing the very skills employees originally brought to the table. Not being needed could have your employees fearing for their jobs or feeling unrecognized for their efforts.
The solution? Giving your employees ample opportunity to succeed in their new roles, using their new skills, with the right learning. As employees take initiative for their own learning path, your help them regain control of their career and help them redefine and retool their skill set. Here are some of the ways you can otherwise quell employee fears that your new direction makes them unneeded.
Before you thrust employees into new roles, take the time to recognize them for their contributions thus far. Employees might feel that a change in direction or job title means that they weren’t functioning adequately under their old title. Instead, give kudos where kudos is due and stress the point that their excellent performance was a catalyst for a new role and opportunity–not a punishment.
Don’t toss your employee into the deep end and hope that he swims: offer the support and training necessary to instill confidence. If an employee doesn’t feel supported in a new role, it might further play into his fears that he’s just another replaceable employee.
New role onboarding frames the change as an opportunity, while mentoring and coaching helps employees feel empowered. Access to learning materials and continuing education can help pull back the curtain of confusion that can shroud a change in direction. You trusted your employee enough to assign her to a new role; now it’s time to prove that trust by giving her share in her own training. Not only will it turn out better-educated employees, but employees who take an active role in their own learning.
If an employee has a general skillset, it’s no wonder he might feel bleak about his trajectory with your company. By encouraging employees to specialize in certain topics and functions, you help them see their potential and worth with your organization. Whether it’s going to a conference to learn about new tech or asking for volunteers to attend sales training, you’re sending a clear message that your employees are necessary assets (and if they aren’t yet, you’re willing to invest so they become so).
As you alter your business model and mission statement to meet a changing industry landscape, make sure your employees don’t feel completely bulldozed. Creating learning and growth opportunities help your workforce feel valued and needed, whether it’s in their current role or while building something bigger and better.