4 Strategies for Change Management in Retail

Implementing change within a retail organization is necessary. It helps the brand stay relevant in the eyes of customers and keeps operations running at peak efficiency. However, change can be hard. Not everyone likes it! Change means stepping into the unknown.

It does not have to be this way. With the right workflow and the right tools, managing change can be easy. Here are a few tips to help with change management.

1. Communicate early

Identify team members who are enthusiastic about the work environment and change in general. These individuals are going to be your advocates and ambassadors for change. Have them deliver the news of the change to the team in person first.

Afterwards, send a company-wide email outlining the details of the change. Encourage staff to reach out to their team leader with any questions. Order is important here… If you send the email first, the employees most resistant to change will already have their minds made up before management has a chance to speak with them. You don’t want them to have a negative influence on the rest of the team. Delivering the news in person will help them feel valued and not sidelined by unexpected news from an email.

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2. Have a clear plan

Your employees should clearly understand what the change consists of. They must understand the phases and timelines for the implementation and who is responsible for what. They must also be told how this change is expected to affect the company as a whole.  The more information you give, the better.

Unanswered questions or not having clear expectations can lead to gossip and misinformation which negatively affects the morale and support for this change across the company.

3. Listen to feedback

Most changes do not happen overnight. Have team leaders check-in with employees early and often. Find out which parts of the plan are working and which aren’t. Based on the feedback, calibrate and scale.

If you are a large organization, start this process with a small group of stores and once the change has been successfully test-driven, roll it out across the rest of your stores.

4. Use good tools and software

Utilize task management and smart checklist software to ensure changes are adopted in full. Technologies exist to assist and confirm that programs, standards, and policies are deployed in full, in time, in every store. These apps support change management around store communication, training, and operations.

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