Conversations During Times of Transformation and Change

In times of uncertainty, the risk of losing top talent are especially high. If you’re in the midst of, or just emerged from big changes, you’re at risk.

And in times of uncertainty, its easy for leaders to “lay low” in the spirit of not creating panic, raising issues or having to face tough questions where they may not have all the answers. But, in the absence of information, employees are likely to make it up. Research overwhelmingly supports the notion that engaged employees are “in the know.”

“They want to be trusted with the truth about the business, including its challenges and changes.”

Conversations during times of transformation and change are critical for engaging, retaining, developing and challenging top talent. Conversations can minimise the mystery and help employees understand where and how they fit amid the changes taking place inside the organization.

What can you do? First, share openly, honestly and often. You don’t need a crystal ball to do so. Focus on these four areas to start:

  1. Your organization’s strategic direction and goals.
  2. Your professional, industry and organization’s future.
  3. The emerging trends and new development that may affect career possibilities.
  4. The cultural and political realities of your organization.

Start a conversation around these areas and as you do so, your employees will learn to look broadly at their profession, industry, and organization and see trends and implications. They will also feel more competent and confident in their future marketability.

And what if you have to hold some information back? Remember, be honest. Tell them you are not at liberty to share and why. Be prepared that your response may not please people, but if you establish a track record of early, honest information sharing during these times of transformation and change, you will have more room to hold information in confidence when you need to.

Finally, it’s a two-way street when we have these conversations. Getting information is also a way of engaging, retaining, developing and challenging your employees. Don’t forget to ask what they want from you, when they want it and in what form what they would like to get it. People want to be heard regarding their jobs, the work at hand, and the organization’s goals and strategies.

So, stay in the loop.

“Keep your employees in the loop. It will help you keep your talent.”

Conversation kick-starters

  1. How is our workplace changing or not? How are these changes impacting you?
  2. What questions do you have about the changes we are undergoing in our organization?
  3. We are in the midst or making a lot of changes. What kind of information do you need from me and what is the best way to pass it along?
  4. What are the key issues or concern driving the organizational goals? How can you play a role?
  5. Given the changes taking place in our company, where do you think you have the most viable opportunities?

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