Ask Dianne: How Do I Change Staff Members Bad Work Habit?

ask-expert31Q. Over the past few years, we have picked up some bad practice habits. What are some positive ways to implement changes without staff resistance?

A. As you have undoubtedly realized, implementing change into the work setting is more complicated than just simply announcing that from now on, “things will be different”.

Whether anybody ever says it or not, each member of your team will be making a personal decision as to whether they will help, hinder or ignore any change initiative that is put forth.

If you have let things go too long, it may be a real challenge to turn it around and still have everyone feeling “positive” throughout the process. Change can be threatening to staff for any number of reasons. And of course, you’ll have to own-up to your role in how things are with the practice.

There are several factors that you can impact or control that will determine the success of a change initiative. These are worth thinking through as part of your evaluation of the practice:

  1. The culture of your organization (is it one of cooperation and support, are your staff members receptive to change or threatened by it, is innovation valued, is your vision for the practice respected, etc.).
  2. The process used to identify both the need for changes and the required new behaviors, policies or procedures (was it inclusive, did everyone participate, does each person recognize that there is a problem, do you know what the “pay-off” is to your staff for NOT changing [you might be surprised at the benefits they get from the status quo], etc.).
  3. The method used to implement the change (did you get buy-in, was appropriate training provided, did you put new policies and procedures in writing, are you prepared to coach your staff to improved performance); AND the consequences for non-compliance (are there appropriate negative consequences for non-compliance, are you willing to terminate any employee – no matter how talented – who does not support your vision for the practice and the new behaviors or policies you have implemented, etc.).
  4. You – the change agent. There are some things you just can’t delegate, and in a small practice, the leader is key in any changes in “bad practice habits” that are to be made.

You, your manner and your presence set the tone each day for the practice. It is through your leadership, your communication skills, and your ability to pull your team together to work towards a common goal that you will make a difference in your practice.

Make sure you have conducted a throrough assessment of the situation, that you provide appropriate training, that you communicate the desired results, and that you use a positive approach involving everyone in the process.

So, how do you implement changes without staff resistance?   (Read more……)