Q: It’s a new year, and I’m seeing some old, unproductive patterns of work and conduct among employees that I need to put in the past. Can I set new standards, even if they conflict with behaviors that have been tolerated and reinforced for many years?
A: The new year is an ideal time to set new standards of conduct and productivity. You can justify the changes based on economic conditions, a highly competitive market, your lawyer’s advice—whatever the case may be. Employees will react more positively if they know the rationale behind your moves.
What is critical, however, is that you not come across as punitive; rather, enlist employees’ support in moving your company forward.
Seek their buy-in that their old, unproductive habits and ways of doing business are no longer a viable strategy, and also solicit input on framing new standards. Ultimately, however, you can define success on your terms.
Offer a reasonable time frame and resources for reaching targets. Convey to employees that they must sign on to this effort or—no hard feelings—they may not be the right team to achieve company goals.
Implementing change in the workplace is never easy, but there is no better time than now to turn that corner and march confidently into the new year!