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8 best HR tips for managers in the event of changes

Operating a business means adapting to both external and internal changes. For the sole proprietor, it might be no big deal, but with a larger number of employees, it becomes increasingly important to be careful in the change work. In this article, we provide you HR tips from our experts to take home as a manager when you are going to inform your employees of a major change or take up something difficult or emotionally charged.

1. Your own attitude to the change

Perhaps most important of all is that you as the manager have understood why the change is being made. The company has made a decision based on commercial reasoning, and where you as a manager have to be able to distinguish between role and person. Your role sometimes includes providing negative information to individuals, and you do this in your capacity as a manager. You as a person may have other thoughts on the decision made, but it is important that this kind of reasoning does not come forward in your dialogue with the employee.

2. Set aside enough time

It is important that you as a manager both have enough time to prepare yourself, and also that you set aside enough time when you are going to hold the conversation. The first conversation that involves providing notice of a change is usually relatively short, a maximum of 30 minutes.

3. Tempo - provide the information quickly

When an organisation or a group has received information that a change will be made, it is important that individual information and conversations are held as quickly as possible in connection to a group meeting or the like. The energy often drops and many immediately begin speculating about details that are not yet known. Therefore, do not prolong the time until when individual meetings are held.

4. The conversation

Try to be direct, do not sugar-coat the information to the person affected. If you have received (or yourself made) a “conversation script”, try to stick to it, naturally to the extent that it works. Remember that emotional, sugar-coating and comforting words in this particular situation can have the opposite effect. You should of course show empathy, but be careful about what you say.

5. Emotions

Take into consideration and be prepared for different emotional reactions. Everyone reacts differently to this kind of information about change, and it is important that you as a manager are prepared for this. It is important that you actively listen and of course provide a warm impression.

Common emotions that can arise are sorrow, sadness, anger, shock, aggressiveness, but also expressions, such as silence, apathy and indifference.

Regardless of what emotions are expressed, it is important that you as a manager are prepared and do not show that you are uncomfortable with this. You do not need to comfort or be a therapist, but you should show empathy and have the strength to listen, even if you have several conversations during the day.

6. Conclusion - summation

Once you have provided the information, it is important that you make a good conclusion. Repeat what you have agreed on, and do not forget to write down if you promised anything during the meeting. Unexpected news can often be difficult to take in and it is not uncommon that employees come out from the meetings and have a hard time remembering what was said. You should therefore repeat and check that the employee understood what was said.

7. Accessibility

It is important that managers are accessible, especially in the event of major changes. As a manager, you must be prepared for many people wanting to talk and ask questions and that you need to ensure that there is room in your calendar so that management feels “accessible”.

8. Different phases of change

When faced with a change, everyone reacts differently. The same individual can also react differently to the same kind of change, depending on circumstances at the time of the change. Regardless of the nature of a change, the behavioural patter is usually the same. It can be of help for you as a manager to be familiar with the different phases.

A person undergoing a change often goes through all of these phases, although at different speeds. Depending on the nature of the change, some phases can take different amounts of time where the change process can take everything from a few seconds to years. When one as a manager is to implement a change, one needs knowledge and insight about the existence of these phases, and what the consequence can be if one as a manager/employee gets “out of step”.


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