“Everybody wants change, but nobody wants to change.” This famous quote has been attributed to a lot of people, from rapper Nathan Feuerstein to writer Leo Tolstoy. It’s a wise saying that describes the world for what it is. People want things to change for the better, but people are so accustomed to our habits that change is too hard for us. Whenever we have to fix something about ourselves, we tend to back off and treat it with fear, if not unreasonable distrust.
Or maybe not.
In 2019, Harvard Business Review found that many workers actually have a positive outlook on future changes. They are eager, in fact, to acquire skills necessary for them to adapt to the changes. Nevertheless, the report also found that these workers are aware of obstacles that may obstruct them to adapt. Here’s where business leaders should jump in and offer help, especially through creating learning culture and employee engagement.
Building a Learning Culture
An adaptable team is a team that constantly learns. This is why it is essential for business leaders to make a good learning culture for their teams. According to Harvard Business Review, learning culture has to evolve from one-way courses to “include on-the-job learning through project staffing and team rotations”. This sustains the life of learning within the company. A good learning culture also pays off, as it helps companies sustain lower turnover and higher retention.
A while ago, we wrote an article about building a learning culture. In brief, a good learning culture puts team members in an organization at the heart of planning it. Learning tools and methods should allow workers to equip themselves with necessary skills that prepare them for changes. A good learning culture might use up a lot of time, resource, and energy. However, given the right support from business leaders, learning can create a resilient and adaptable team.
Employee Engagement during Changes
An adaptable team is a team which is prepared for changes. However, if the team is not informed about either possible or upcoming changes, how can the team adapt well–especially when change is often difficult and painful. This is why Harvard Business Review recommended that employees be involved and informed during moments of changes. Gallup also found that engaged workers help companies to not only adapt sufficiently, but also grow extraordinarily.
Case in point: when ING Netherlands was transforming itself, the company kept its workers informed about the reasons they change and the things workers could look forward to, even if they don’t fit with the new model. As a result, employees who joined the new ING were committed to support the company’s mission, while those who don’t received ING Netherland’s help to find a new job. Transparent engagement helped ING’s team adapt and even thrive.
Change will always come and go at unexpected moments. When change is bound to happen, a good team should be adaptable enough that it can not only withstand the changes, but also see changes as an opportunity to grow. However, this ideal team wouldn’t exist without the help from business leaders. To create an adaptable team, business leaders should first create a good learning culture while keeping their team informed and engaged during moments of change.
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