I was working with an office manager the other day and she happened to mention that she was struggling with a feeling of being left out of certain office changes that were happening in the business that she did not know about until after they were being implemented.
Upon further questioning, she said that the owner of the business was working closely with a couple of the other staff personnel on some changes for the business but they failed to include her in the conversation. It was not that she wanted to necessarily have input, but she would like to be kept informed of what changes were happening in the business.
She said that it had gone as far as the business owner asking her to help with a customer situation and what the owner was telling her to do was something she had never heard of before and did not really know how to take care of. She didn’t know how to approach the owner without sounding critical, bossy, or like she wanted to micromanage the business. What she really wanted was to be an active partner with all of the other staff in the changes of the business so she knew where the business was headed and understood the owner’s vision and reason for the changes.
As much as this seems like a bad situation, which it is, it is not uncommon for staff to feel left out no matter what their position is when changes are taking place. I know this first handed because it happened to me.
Most of the time this is not done intentionally, it is usually because the business owner just wants to get something accomplished and picks a few people to carry it out. This is fine, but if all employees who would be affected by the change or needed to understand and know what the change is are not informed even though they may not be the ones carrying out the changes, there is a disconnect and this can cause dysfunction and disgruntled employees.
When working on new projects, especially if the business has less than 20 employees, it is important to include everyone in the knowledge of what is happening, why it is happening, and how it might affect the business differently or the employees differently so that people who work for the business do not feel left out and have knowledge of what is going on.
Remember what being left out felt like when you were a child? Maybe you didn’t get picked for the team or change happened suddenly in your family (or you thought was suddenly) and you later found out that you had been left out of what was happening? It still feels very bad when it happens as an adult in a workplace that you feel you are a part of.
Take the time to discuss openly with your employees any changes that are going to be made or may possibly be made. Let them know how they are going to happen and who will be involved in making them happen. Doing this will make everyone in the workplace feel better about the change because they have been informed and understand the reason for the change.
“Treat your employees like you would want to be treated if you were an employee.”
Keep moving forward!