Maintaining Employee Morale through Company Leadership Changes

“The overall morale of the company is down. A new regime has taken over and the company has lost its ‘family’ feel.” – Actual comment of employee leaving a company

Every organization will experience times of change, particularly in times of exponential growth or when experiencing a decline. Leadership changes can prove useful, bringing new perspective and opportunity, but with change comes anxiety. In order to maintain success and stability through the transition, efforts must be made towards employee retention.

People who have to make a change often see more of what they will be losing instead of what they may gain. Because those in management are the first to know of what is to come, employees can feel left out and uncertain about their future with the company. Thankfully, there are ways to help relieve the anxiety your employees may be experiencing:

  • Communicate: Recognize that it is not possible to over-communicate. Keep your team as up-to-date as possible with the information you are able to share, whether through emails or face-to-face meetings.
  • Develop Trust: Help develop trust with employees by again keeping communication lines open. Ensure everyone understands the reason for the change and how it will impact each of them.
  • Stay Consistent: While the delivery methods may be different for each segment of the organization, the message itself needs to remain consistent. Employees will talk, so if you deliver different information to different people, it will lead to more confusion and anxiety.
  • Be Ready for Questions: Change brings questions, so be prepared to answer. Facilitate two-way communication with employees and allow time for real discussion.
  • Recognize the Human Element: Yes, this decision to change is based on business, but it can often be easy to forget the people it involves, especially for managers in higher positions. Restructuring affects everyone in some way, so do your best to address concerns right away and as they come through.

Change takes time, so as early as possible in the process, help show your employees the positive effects it will generate. Effective communication is key to retaining your most valuable workers. If the entire leadership team is changing, create a seamless transition, and involve the entire team in introductions and ensure they still feel like a valued contributor to the company.

When a group is fairly tight-knit, as the beginning quote references, any change is going to feel as though the balance has been thrown. Rather than simply having a new face take over, plan an event that will facilitate getting to know others in a more relaxed environment, such as an off-site lunch or happy hour.

Should your company experience employee retention issues during or after a recent leadership change, utilize our ExitRight® interviews to gain valuable, honest insight into their reasons for leaving. To stay ahead of any underlying concerns, we also provide employee stay interviews and employee engagement surveys. Understanding your team’s concerns and where improvements can be made is essential to running a great company and maintaining or improving employee morale.