June 2012
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TD Magazine

Four Ways to Help Employees Adapt Quickly to Change

Friday, June 8, 2012

During organizational change, employees frequently feel alone and disoriented. They often search for the familiar or reach for stability to ease their worry. For a successful change effort, it is critical to help employees develop personal plans for managing the change so they can quickly adapt and move forward. Here are four tactics to use to help them in their journey.


Online and classroom modulated training. Both virtual and classroom training are suitable. Virtual, on-demand training provides access flexibility and scheduling agility, which help employees to feel a sense of control over training on new processes or skills. Classroom training enables them to establish or reinforce social bonds, which can help to soothe stress and anxiety brought on by change.

Brown bags. More personal than formal training classes, brown bag events can benefit from having a theme and a take-away such as a worksheet, checklist, sample, or mock-up. The brown bags also can focus on reinforcing key aspects of training or building specific adaptation skills (for example, innovative thinking).

Social networking through platforms such as Yammer. Learning and collaboration cohorts for idea-sharing, problem solving, or emotional support can help employees get unstuck or move with greater ease along the change adaptation continuum. Employees can tackle problems related to the change as a collaborative team, deepening their understanding of what's going on and increasing their involvement and feelings of ownership in the results.


Simulations, demonstration, or hands-on learning. Previewing change through simulated real-world experiences, such as a virtual tour of some aspect of the change, can answer employees' questions and help them to feel more in control, which in turn can precipitate a shift in attitude.

These tips were adapted from the June 2012 Infoline, "Fostering Resilient and Change-Ready Employees," by Stella Cowan. For more information, Click here  

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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