By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
The first step to establish a change-oriented culture in your call center is to minimize employee fears about change. Employees can accept change if 1) the change is incremental or small; 2) they have a degree of input or control over the change; and 3) the change is clearly understood by all.
The key is communication. Address change head on. With every change, employees wonder how it could affect them. Is their position in jeopardy? Might their hours be cut or their shift changed? Maybe they’ll need to work harder. Perhaps they’ll be asked to do something they find unpleasant. What happens if they can’t learn the needed skills?
These are all worries about the unknown. As with most worries, the majority will never happen, but with a lack of accurate information and management assurances, these irrational worries soon dominate everyone’s thoughts.
Communication must also be ongoing – not just to key staff, but to all staff; not by one method, but many: group meetings, internal blogs, memos, and one-on-one discussions. An open door policy helps, too. Also critical is a positive attitude and unwavering commitment from leadership. Celebrate milestones, thank staff at each step, and provide rewards at the end.
Taking these steps sends a strong signal to employees. Even though the change may still concern them, they’ll take comfort knowing they have accurate expectations about the changes. And with each successful change, the next one becomes easier to bring about.
You’ll know you’ve created a change-friendly organization when employees grow bored with the status quo and actually anticipate the next change. At this point, the potential of your call center balloons, your staff grows, and the future beckons. No one knows for sure what that future will entail – only that things will change for the better. So, sit back and enjoy the ride as an agent of change.