Workplace change process outline

Steps to follow when making a change in the workplace.

At the start of any workplace change process, always review your employment agreement/s and workplace policies to make sure that you understand all of your responsibilities. You must comply with these.

Steps in the change process

Note: Always consider the timing of your change process. If possible, avoid doing consultation and change just before or over the Christmas/New Year break or other extended holidays.

Support for staff

A workplace change process can be a stressful time for both staff and managers. It is a good idea to put a range of support in to assist everyone through the process. Putting support in place is an aspect of dealing with your employees in good faith and support a fair process. This may include:

  • touching base regularly with staff, be sure to be seen and be available throughout the process
  • time off to prepare feedback, prepare for interviews, or deal with other issues that may arise through the change
  • EAP or other counselling support. If you have an EAP provider or decide to have a provider for this change, take time to brief them on what is happening. This will make sure that they can offer the appropriate level of support to staff and managers throughout the process
  • training in CV writing or interview skill development if staff need to apply for new jobs
  • career advice or counselling and or outplacement support to assist staff who are made redundant as a result of the change. Career advice may also be helpful; to some staff to assist them to seek different roles in the new structure.

Common mistakes

To reduce the risk of a personal grievance, don’t:

  • treat the proposal as a done deal before you’ve heard and considered feedback
  • leave too little time between stages — your employees need time to consider things and be certain that your consultation process is real
  • be unclear about what the proposed structure is – creating confusion and leaving employees to ‘fill in the gaps’
  • give out confidential information, or refuse to give out information that you should disclose.

Tips for employees

  • A workplace change process should give you a chance to be involved and give your feedback.
  • Make sure you know what is happening. Go to all of the meetings and read all the information.
  • If you are not sure of anything, you can talk with others, including:
    • work mates
    • your representative
    • a support person
    • HR person
    • your manager.
  • Let your employer know what you think about the change and its impact on you.
  • The change proposal should say how feedback can be given. You can normally do this in person or in writing. You might chose to do this can be directly to your manager, by yourself or with a group of workmates, or through your representative.
  • If you can think of different or better ways to do things let your employer know.
  • Try your best to be positive and constructive when letting your employer know your thoughts and ideas.
  • If you do not think that the change goes far enough, it is okay to say so.
  • You should take part in any selection processes for same or similar jobs. You should be able to apply for any new jobs that you think you have the skills for.
  • You should talk with your family, this is important as they can support you through the process.
  • A change process can sometimes be a worrying time, this is normal. Make sure that you look after yourself, eg eat well and get plenty of sleep. If you have concerns, make sure to talk with someone. If EAP or other support is offered then use this.
  • Where possible a change process is about keeping staff employed. It is not about getting a better job.
  • If the change process results in an employment problem – you should use the resolving issues process.

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