In an industry as dynamic as healthcare, organizational change is inevitable. In 2017, major consolidations accompanied by the industry-wide shift toward value-based reimbursement has left a lasting effect on healthcare. While no one knows what the future holds, the pace of change in healthcare isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. For leaders, navigating these changes can pose their own unique challenges. Here are 6 tips for leaders to better navigate transitional changes and achieve the best outcomes possible:
- Budget more time than you anticipate to prepare your message, delivery and subsequent follow-through. Beyond the initial rollout, it is important to set aside time to have follow-up conversations with both teams and individual team members to clearly communicate what these changes mean for them. Additionally, team and individual meetings are a great opportunity to address any pushback you may receive and foster employee buy-in.
- Clearly communicate how these changes stand to benefit the organization. Far too often, policy and organizational changes are rolled out with little or no clear explanation of what this means for employees which can cause confusion and in turn lead to anxiety. To minimize this, it is important to give as much background information as possible. This includes what challenges the team, department, or organization were facing and how these changes are expected to help overcome them. Doing so will help leaders navigate follow-up conversations with team members to clearly communicate what the new changes mean for their roles.
- Make sure managers at every level are set up for success. When rolling out transitional changes, it’s not uncommon for frontline managers to feel the pinch. After all, they can sometimes get caught between staff and leadership when there is tension between the two. Ensuring managers are well informed regarding what is happening and how it affects their teams will equip them to knowledgeably answer any questions they might receive.
- Research how changes will affect individuals. Explore how the transition will affect individuals and be prepared to answer specific questions during follow-up meetings. By giving individual assistance, employees will feel more secure knowing that the organization still has their best interest at heart, no matter what.
- Give options when possible. Rather than dictating one specific course of action, determine if there are alternative choices you can provide to affected parties. At times, transitional changes such as mergers can mean some positions cease to exist. In situations like this, a great transitional leader will make sure employees have all the information and assistance they need to provide options and make the transition as easy as possible.
- Lead with integrity. In times of change, anxiety can be high among staff members. When leading follow-up meetings, honesty is the best policy should unforeseen questions arise. Instead of providing a canned answer when asked about something you don’t have the answer to, you will gain credibility with staff by giving a genuine answer even if that answer is “I don’t have that information right now but I will look into it and get back to you shortly”.
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