By John Brackett, the founder of Smash Balloon, the world’s leading social media feeds plug-in for WordPress
One of the most confusing and frustrating times for employees is when there’s a management shake-up. There are plenty of reasons this could occur. Perhaps an existing manager found a new opportunity or decided that they would like a demotion. Whatever the reason, you have to know how to secure employee trust during these trying times.
I want to help business leaders who are currently in this situation and looking for solutions. The following tactics will help you create a solid foundation of trust that you can use to build long-term, professional bonds with your team. Let’s start by talking about the first thing you should do after a disruption in management.
After communicating the change to your team, make sure you set clear expectations for the future. There will be a ton of questions and concerns — and I’ll get to that soon enough.
Let the team know what’s going on, what changes they can expect and whether there will be similar adjustments to follow. Setting expectations will level the field and give you the platform you need to secure your team’s trust.
If you can, let employees know if their roles will remain the same or if they will be trained and transferred to different departments. The uncertainty that comes with a management shake-up puts everyone on edge. This small step can go a long way toward rebuilding the trust that was lost.
Create an open line for communication.
The next step is to open a line for communication across all departments. There are several ways you can approach this step. Some business leaders like hosting a meeting where they talk to the team and allow people to ask questions. This method is excellent because you have everyone’s attention, so if one person asks a question, everyone gets the answer.
Alternatively, you could let your employees know that an open-door policy is in effect. If they have any concerns at all about this situation, they are free to come and see you or schedule a private meeting. Some people like one-on-one sessions because it gives them time to talk to you and expand on their questions.
Another creative solution involves sending out a simple anonymous feedback form to your employees. Ask several general questions about your performance as a company and if there’s anything you can do to improve the experience. You can use one of these surveys after a management shake-up to test your office climate.
Actively listen and follow up.
When your staff members come to you with questions and concerns, make sure you actively listen to what they have to say. Never interrupt them or flat out tell them that they are wrong. Instead, think about what they say, and give them a crisp answer that doesn’t leave room for interpretation.
Sometimes you’ll have to meet up with an employee again after the initial meeting. If that’s the case, make sure you follow up. Following up shows your team that you care about them and want to build mutual trust.
Promote from within.
My final piece of advice is a general rule that will help smooth out tensions if you need a new member of management. I suggest looking at your existing team and promoting from within. Some employees can lose trust in you and become resentful if you keep bringing in new people with no hands-on experience to manage the team.
You’ll likely have much better results promoting from within. In many cases, these folks are more passionate, have hands-on experience and are already on good terms with most of your staff. Once the promotion happens, the transition will occur at a smoother pace if there’s less friction from a brand-new face.
Employee trust is essential for running a successful business with a robust company culture. You will encounter scenarios that put your team’s trust to the test, especially when it comes time to switch up your management team.
If you use the advice I’ve offered today, you’ll have a much easier time navigating the office environment after a shake-up. I suggest that you implement all of these tips as a regular part of your company culture to keep employees happy and confident.