How to Introduce Changes in Workplace Procedures

Three Parts:Designing Procedural ChangesMaintaining Confidence and ControlImplementing Changes

Changes in workplace procedures generally produce positive results, saving the company time and money or promoting a more positive work environment. Change is exciting to those who adapt to it easily, but for some employees change may be unfamiliar, upsetting, or even frightening. They may find it difficult to accept the unknown, causing distress, or they may develop anxieties about adhering to the new policies. As a leader in the workplace, it's your job to make sure that any transition runs as smoothly as possible. Learning how to introduce and implement new workplace procedures will help your employees transition to the changes effectively while maintaining high workplace morale.

Part 1
Designing Procedural Changes

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    Be aware of the costs. If you're implementing a procedural change to save money over the next few years, it may seem like a clear choice. But if that change will require a costly installation of new equipment, significant re-training of personnel, or hiring new employees to take on new roles, you may need to compare the costs to see if they outweigh the long-term savings and benefits.[1] Talk to an accountant about the relative costs versus longterm savings to determine if your company can afford to implement those changes, or try performing a simple cost-benefit analysis.
    • A cost-benefit analysis compares the anticipated costs against the anticipated benefits to determine the best, most cost-efficient plan.[2]
    • To conduct a simple cost-benefit analysis, divide a sheet of paper into two columns. List the benefits in one column and the costs in the other column. Compare the two lists to see which course of action is the most beneficial and cost-efficient.
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    Make it easy to introduce. Even if the procedural changes you're introducing will radically change the way your business operates, it's important to make those changes easy to introduce and implement. If at all possible, try to implement the new changes in stages or phases. That way your employees will find it easier to adjust and adapt to the new procedures.[3]
    • If possible, implement changes in a way that allows employees to adjust on a step-by-step basis. Try staggering the new procedural changes over several weeks or even months to allow for optimal adaptation.[4]
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    Measure its success. Significant procedural changes should be made for a reason. Once you've determined why you're making those changes, it's important to find a way to measure the relative success of the changes. If the changes are supposed to save costs, then have a cost comparison in place to evaluate how effective the changes have been after several months. If the changes are supposed to improve customer satisfaction, then take surveys and keep an eye on the number of returning customers who are pleased with the changes you've made.[5]
    • Consider using a free or low-cost financial tool to track your company's success before and after implementing the changes. You can find free tools online like inDinero or Corelytics, or subscribe to a more in-depth monthly service from those same providers.[6]
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    Have an escape plan. Obviously your hope with the new procedural changes is that it will make things better in the workplace. But what do you do if the opposite ends up happening? Any good plan for procedural changes should have a backup plan or, if all else fails, an escape plan to abandon the changes altogether.[7]
    • Decide whether you will default back to the old procedures in the event that the new changes fail, or whether you will implement a backup plan. If choosing a backup plan, have concrete plans in place just in case.
    • You may want to avoid telling your employees that you have a backup plan or that you may revert back to the old procedures. Telling them these things may make you appear weak or ineffective as a leader, and it may increase employee resistance to the changes if they know that enough vocal opposition will return things back to the way they were.

Part 2
Maintaining Confidence and Control

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    Convey your vision. If you believe that the procedural changes you're making will improve the company and/or the workplace, communicate this. Let your employees know how you envision the company a year from now, and lay out the strategies (including these procedural changes) that will help get the company where you believe it needs to be.[8]
    • Share your vision with your employees. Be clear and concise in describing what you want for your company.[9]
    • Understand your employees.
    • Empower your employees by letting them voice their thoughts, concerns, and overall feedback on the changes you're proposing. However, do not lose the organizational structure of your company.
    • Decide whether it would be best to communicate your vision and announce changes in person or through email. Issues of urgency are best delivered in person, and written/emailed messages can be easily ignored.
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    Sell the change. No matter what workplace procedural changes you're trying to implement, it may not be enough to simply tell your employees "That's just the way it will be from now on." As a leader, it's your role to lead, and that means getting your employees behind you 100%. Once you've announced the changes, sell them to your employees. Help them see why those changes are good for the company and, ultimately, good for the employees.[10]
    • Let your workers know your (or the company's) motivation for implementing these changes. If the changes will save money, then say so. If they will create a better work environment, then let everyone know. No matter what the motivation is, make it clear that the advantages of these changes will outweigh the costs and implementation problems.[11]
    • Point out why the old way of doing things was improper or ineffective. Having a clear contrast might make it easier for employees to understand why that change was necessary.
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    Remove any uncertainty. One of the biggest reasons employees resist change is the fear they feel for the unknown. If there is any uncertainty about how the day-to-day business will operate, or about the very specific roles you and your employees will play in these changes, you will need to remove those uncertainties. You can do this by anticipating questions, doubts, and fears that your employees may have and alleviating them before they come up.[12]
    • Be meticulous in your planning of how the business will operate and what (if any) changes will arise in your employees' roles. Let them know that their roles will not change, or if their roles will be affected in any way, then be clear about this from the start.
    • Try to frame procedural changes in a way that employees will see those changes as an improvement to how they work. If you remove the doubt that surrounds vague procedural announcements and re-frame those changes as a way to create a better work environment or a smoother order of operations, your employees will most likely be more on-board.[13]
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    Time it right. Some business experts advise that the timing of a procedural announcement may be the biggest factor in getting employees on board.[14] There's no clear-cut rule on when the timing is right, as every situation and workplace is different, but being aware of how the changes affect your employees may help you time the announcement and implementation a bit better.
    • If the new procedures will require additional training, try to time the implementation of those procedures in a way that gives your employees adequate time to prepare. For example, don't announce new procedures on a Friday if they go into effect on the following Monday. That may require employees to come in over the weekend for training or scramble to figure things out on the day the changes go live.
    • If at all possible, announce procedural changes a few weeks before they will take place. This will give everyone a chance to read the new procedures, understand how they differ from the old ones, and learn how to make the necessary changes.

Part 3
Implementing Changes

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    Don't lose your company's identity. Procedural changes are usually good, but they shouldn't be so radical that your employees no longer recognize the company - at least not overnight. Remember that in addition to comfort in the familiar, many of your employees may be loyal and dedicated to the company for its image/identity or its original mission. It's okay to shift those aspects through a long-term plan, but making radical changes over a short span of time may alienate or alarm your most loyal employees.[15]
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    Seek input. Your employees' degree of satisfaction will be one of the best gauges of how effective the changes have been. Some employees will, of course, resist change no matter what happens, but other employees may like the overall direction while having reservations about how those changes are actually implemented.[16]
    • An easy way to ensure employee satisfaction and gauge any future changes that may be necessary is to ask employees for feedback on the changes. Let them know that while you may not be open to reversing the changes, you do value employee input and collaboration when it comes to how those changes are implemented.[17]
    • Consider forming a task force or committee to seek feedback on how the changes are being implemented and input on how the changes might be more successfully implemented.[18]
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    Reward employee performance. One way to help get employees on-board with new procedural changes is to generate short-term goals for your employees and reward those who meet those goals. It may seem like an insignificant move, but it can help build support for the changes and instill a strong desire to implement those changes.[19]


  • Get your employees on board and involved with changes in procedures as early as possible.
  • Try to seek help from employees with the planning or implementation portion of this process.
  • Encourage flexibility in the workplace. The better your employees adapt to change, the easier this process will be for everyone.


  • Never answer a question unless you are sure you have an accurate and complete answer. If you don't have an accurate answer it is best to admit that you are unsure and promise to get back soon with the correct answer.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Workplace Health and Safety