5 Ways to Implement Change in Your Startup

Throughout the life of your startup, you’ll be forced to implement new ideas to improve your culture, management, employee relations, and the overall success of the company. Especially as a manager or founder of a startup, you’re constantly faced with the challenge of maintaining innovation while simultaneously keeping your competitive edge.

Implementing change in the workplace is necessary for any company, regardless of its size. Whether it’s your goal to increase sales or improve employee relations, one of the most challenging tasks for managers is implementing a new direction for the startup and encouraging employees to get involved with the change.

Since many startups are small in size, the transition for change can definitely be influenced by your company’s culture, employees, and environment. This is why it’s very important for startup founders and managers to understand effective ways to implement change. If you’re preparing to introduce change into your company, here are five ways to help you meet your goals:

1. Create the motivation for change.

This is the first step to take when implementing change in your startup. Sparking the need for change in the workplace isn’t always the easiest task for managers, especially if it’s a change with a large impact (such as changing a company procedure or increasing sales goals). You can initiate the motivation for change through emphasizing the goal you have for your startup and giving your employees time to think about that goal. This way, your employees will have time to allow your ideas to sink in and they can approach you with any questions or concerns that arise.

2. Establish the urgency for change.

Sometimes, implementing change in your startup can be a scary process. However, to overcome this, it’s important to establish the urgency for change. You can create this urgency by encouraging your employees to step out of their comfort zones and approach your new direction as a positive challenge.

Tell your employees your old strategies are losing relevance for the company and you need to move forward with the latest trends present in your industry. To illustrate the urgency, share with employees what your competitors are doing and how the change will improve your bottom line. These approaches are a surefire way to get employees thinking about the goals you have for your startup.

3. Explain the benefits of change.

Before implementing the change, build enthusiasm for your goals by explaining the benefits to your employees. Will this change create opportunities for raises or promotions? Can employees benefit from a more flexible work schedule? Whatever change you are going to make, your employees are going to want to know how they will benefit from the decision. Whatever you do, make sure it is clear to your employees how they will benefit when your startup reaches its goals.

4. Ask for feedback from employees.

Remember, your employees are still human! To successfully implement change you must involve your employees with every step along the way. Make sure to request their feedback and listen to their ideas. By allowing your employees to provide feedback regarding new changes, there can be potential to discover ways to improve the initial change. Employees want to feel like they can make a difference for their company; by welcoming their feedback and ideas, you will be able to help the change transition more smoothly.

5. Set clear expectations.

Your employees can effectively adapt to change when they have measurable and tangible goals to work with. You should be able to relate the change to your employees and provide them with strategies to implement the change. As management, it’s your responsibility to measure your goals and determine the rewards. By setting clear expectations for your employees, you will be able to help your employees adapt to the change and meet your goals.

Whether you’re leading big or small change in the workplace, your employees contribute greatly to the change. Always consider their needs whenever making a decision that will impact your company. More often than not, change is usually necessary in the workplace. As the manager, it’s your responsibility to help your employees embrace your new ideas with a positive attitude.

How do you implement change in your startup? What strategies have worked best for you?

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Written by:
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Find Heather on Google+.
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