How do you propose change in a workplace?

Expert Answers
carolynosborne eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In any workplace, there will be people eager for things to change and people who want things to stay the same, for a variety of reasons. When you propose changes, it is important to fully understand both groups and to set up your proposal so it addresses both groups' sets of needs. 

Some people thrive on change; they enjoy doing new things, improving old things, and avoiding getting into a rut. If your proposal for change creates logical improvements, these people will likely get on board with it. If they have a chance to be part of creating the proposal, they will be even more likely to support the change and they will probably have really good ideas to enhance your ideas. 

Others are less likely to support change. Some people may have some really good reasons to oppose a particular change; the proposed change could fail to deal with a significant reality or the employees might not trust those who want to make the change, possibly with good reason. These dissenters are vital to creating a positive change in an organization because their ideas might strengthen or alter the proposal significantly. 

Some people dislike particular changes because of how their jobs might be altered or eliminated. While necessary changes need to be made to address obsolescence, it is better to figure out if it is possible to improve people's job situations in the process. Are there new jobs being created? Can someone transfer into a new position? 

Finally, some people just dislike changing anything because they find change threatening. Highly valued employees with this concern can be supported throughout a change process so they can adjust to new things. 

When making a change, it is also important to think through how the change gets proposed. Working with a small group of people who have varying perspectives to create a proposal can be very effective. Avoid completely surprising people and also be sure that, when you propose something, you have thought through not only the improvements, but also any problems the change might create and how you can address those issues. 

Life in the 21st century is changing rapidly and learning how to deal with changes is now a critical job skill. Still, organizations benefit when change-makers do so thoughtfully and carefully, respecting the employees affected by the change.