We all know that change is the only thing constant in life. To paraphrase the mighty Thanos, dread it, run from it, change is still going to arrive. This is especially true in workplaces—where not only is change happening constantly, it is also occurring at a much faster rate. This is thanks to factors that include advancements in technology, the infusion of a younger workforce, and evolving worldviews.
Though change is an inevitable fact of life, it is human nature to feel aversion towards it. However, this is perfectly reasonable. There is comfort in familiarity, after all.
We feel more at ease keeping things the way they are. Fear is also a factor that comes with change, whether in not knowing what will happen next, or brought about by a pessimistic outlook.
For your business to thrive, change must be embraced. Resist and you risk getting left behind, but embrace it and you set yourself up with opportunities for greater success.
Workplace Changes Happening Today
The modern workplace is an ever-shifting environment. To keep up, it is important to recognize what specific changes are currently going on and determine which of these are positive. You can then come up with ways to incorporate them to the advantage of your business.
Here are some of the most common changes happening in workplaces right now:
Perhaps the biggest change is the emergence of software and platforms that make business processes more efficient.
From the hiring process to team management, there are applications available now to help streamline these tasks. Are you using the latest available technologies to improve your business processes? Or are you sticking with outdated ways of doing things because it is more comfortable?
There is a learning curve to mastering the use of the latest technologies, which is why some members of the older generations prefer not to dabble with them. However, they are built for a specific purpose. They are built to increase efficiency and productivity, and if you are not taking advantage of technology to progress your business goals, you’re giving yourself an unnecessary handicap.
2. Gender Balance
There is a progressive movement going on that calls for a more balanced workforce, with equal pay for women and equal opportunity advancement for everyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
This is definitely different from the workplaces from years ago. More and more companies are embracing gender equality as part of their work culture. Where your company stands in this movement and how much effort you put into it could go a long way towards positive recognition and ultimately enhancing your company’s reputation.
3. Younger Workforce
According to Pewresearch, millennials now comprise the biggest percentage of the workforce in the United States, taking up over a third of the total labor force. Sooner rather than later, post-millennials, the oldest of which are now in their early 20s, are going to enter the workforce as well if they haven’t already. With Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still very much active in the workplace, generational gaps are bound to be common.
Does your company recognize these generational gaps? If so, do you have concrete plans to bridge those gaps? It is a fine line to walk on as these generations differ in priority when it comes to their careers.
Nevertheless, it is vital to make a concerted effort to recognize the needs of each generation as the workforce continues to shift. This will help tremendously in boosting employee morale and achieving happiness at work.
How Change Can Improve the Workforce Performance
Embracing changes in every facet of the workplace can be difficult in the beginning, but you are bound to reap several benefits when they’re executed properly. Granted, changes won’t always provide the most convenient solution, but more often than not, it’s much better than resisting it.
The following include positive results that change can bring to your company:
Improves Efficiency and Productivity
Making a constant assessment and positive changes in the work process ultimately leads to better efficiency and an increase in productivity.
If there are processes that can be automated, invest in the necessary technology. As with any competition, whether in warfare, athletics, or business, the ones who embrace the latest technologies to their fullest extent usually triumph.
If there are metrics that are no longer relevant, replace them with more applicable ones. Continually updating your company goals will help you keep pace and stay connected to the ever-evolving market.
While keeping the status quo can be comfortable, it can also lead to stagnation. Shaking things up, even in the smallest aspects of the workplace, can sometimes be the jolt that the workers need to bolster employee engagement.
Diversity Leads to More Opinions and Better Ideas
One of the reasons for Nokia’s downfall was the fact that the top management was mostly comprised of Finnish people of the same age and background. The lack of an outside perspective proved partly responsible for the company’s failure to adapt.
Changes in the workforce, such as the inclusion of younger workers, or people from different races, sexual orientation, or background can help collect varying employee insights that are valuable for the company’s growth.
Resisting Change Will Ultimately Lead to Failure
Charles Darwin said that it is neither the strongest nor the most intelligent species that survives but the ones that are most responsive to change. Dinosaurs learned that the hard way when their failure to adapt to a swiftly changing climatic condition around 65 million years ago caused their extinction.
In the business world, even the most powerful corporations sometimes end up falling victim to the inability to change with the times.
Take for example: Blackberry. During the mid to late 2000s, Blackberry was the ultimate smartphone, the preferred device for corporate America because of its security and business functionality. It had over 80 million users at one point, famously including former US President Barack Obama.
Apple then released the iPhone with touchscreen capability in 2007. It was obvious that that’s where smartphone technology was headed. Yet even with the growing popularity of touchscreen, Blackberry’s top management ignored it, insisting that users still preferred a physical keypad.
As a result, Blackberry’s market shares plummeted. Other companies like Samsung adapted and managed to flourish alongside Apple.
Of course, Blackberry was not the only major company that failed because it resisted change. Other examples include Nokia, Blockbuster, Yahoo, Kodak, and MySpace.
The fact that even the biggest and most successful companies can fall because of their failure to change is all you need to remember when your company feels like resisting change. You will need to adapt or risk failing your business.
Think of Change as an Opportunity
Instead of viewing change as a burden to deal with, think of it as an opportunity instead. Change is an opportunity to learn, opportunity to improve, and opportunity to succeed. There is really no point in resisting what you know is going to happen anyway.
Change is only as good or as bad as we make it. When we embrace it and face it head-on, that’s when growth happens.