Bringing new ideas to the workplace means instituting change. While some staff members may embrace new ideas and concepts right away, managers may need to put extra effort into bringing hesitant or resistant employees on board. Backlash against new ideas can lead to low morale and decreased productivity.
New ideas gain better traction if employees have a vested interest in the process. Rather than spring top-down management ideas on the staff, involve them in the processes leading up to changes and make them feel a sense of ownership. For example, hold brainstorming sessions or employee focus groups where you encourage staffers to share their perspectives, ideas and opinions. Even if you have a solid plan for change or new ideas already established, involving your staff can smooth the transition to new ways of thinking or doing things.
Give employees advance warning of new changes -- especially big ones or those that require time to prepare. For example, if you decide to implement a new virtual document storage system company-wide, start talking about it a few weeks before roll-out and set a timeline for when changes will be made. Encourage employees to purge unnecessary files, take an online tutorial or attend a brown bag lunch seminar that walks them through the new system’s features. This approach leaves employees feeling prepared to accept new things without feeling as though change is heaped on them without notice.
When new ideas are vague, it can be disconcerting, especially if employees aren’t sure what the changes mean to them or their daily job performance. For example, if you decide to move to a four-day workweek during the summer to reduce utility bills, some staff may love the idea of a three-day weekend while others see it as a disruption of work flow. Be clear about your rationale, outline how workloads will be recalculated and note the specific start and end dates for your summer hours.
Demonstrate to employees how and why new ideas will benefit the company. For example, explain that tracking leads more thoroughly means utilizing the marketing budget more efficiently; doing so will allow expansion into television ads, which will help attract a larger market share, bring in new customers and eventually result in a higher earning potential for all.
Commit to following through on implementing new ideas. Recognize that some staffers may resist change or feel overwhelmed by new approaches or ways of doing things, and allow for an adjustment period. Don’t give up on new ideas you’ve put on the table, or you run the risk of looking indecisive in front of your employees.