Not only is 2020 a new year but also the start of a new decade. Exciting times!

2020 will of course bring with it a word that we hear a lot but may not like all the time, a word that excites some but that can dis-engage others, a word that that can evoke different responses from “Yes- at last” to “Oh no – not again, what does this mean for me?”

This simple word is:

Globally there are several aspects that will ensure that change will be on the agenda for us all in the workplace in 2020. To name a few: Brexit, Trade Wars, cyber-security, climate change, changing demographics, technology…. The list is endless, but the fact is that no matter what industry sector or size of business you are – one thing will be on the agenda: CHANGE!

So how do we all cope with a changing world?

My first general tip is simply not to use the word change– this one word over the last decade has been associated with a number of health and wellbeing aspects: stress, change fatigue, burnout… maybe use a different phrase – evolution, transformation, performance or productivity increase.

Here are my 3 tips for both people managers and employees to cope:

Tips for employers / people managers:

  1. Communicate the reason for any change – and communicate it quickly, succinctly and in person if you can. Explain the why so employees can understand
  2. Once everyone has been informed – set goals – get people busy and focused on what they need to do. It is amazing how things ‘just happen’ if you keep everyone focused.
  3. Measure sentiment – short pulse polls are a great way of finding out who is on the bus, off the bus or holding the bus back.

Tips for employees:

  1. Seek understanding of the impact of any change to you – work is a two-way process – don’t just wait for the internal memo – be proactive about it… this does one of two things…. 1. It reduces the stress of the unknown – if you know what the effect is you can start to plan and accept…. 2. It shows you are open to change to your employer – that you are proactive.
  2. Don’t get caught up with the water cooler whining – instead try and be a support to colleagues – ask them to think of change as an evolution or a learning experience
  3. If the change agenda does not fit in with your values or you do not believe in the future direction your employer is taking – consider exploring opportunities – it really will do you or your employer no good if you do not believe in the vision.

The biggest piece of advice for anyone reading this is: face 2020 with a positive can-do attitude, don’t over-think the ‘what-ifs’.

One thing is constant in the world of work: if you perform or outperform the essential requirements or KPI’s you have agreed to work towards and have a positive attitude you will always be an employee of choice.

You may not be able to control what the Board and CEO are doing but you can control your output and attitude. I hope this helps you to navigate the year, for more detailed advice on any talent problems, please do get in touch with us here at Optimum……

Stephen Cushion – General Manager, Consulting

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