Leading Payroll Teams Through Change

Leading Teams Through Change – Top 10 Tips

It doesn’t need to be said that the past year has been one of the most transformative in history for the payroll sector. Payroll teams have had to adapt to sudden and profound changes in the way they operate both as individuals, and within a team environment.

Delivering a change process requires an enormous amount of focus and team commitment. It relies on the ‘holy trinity’ combination of the right leader, team cohesiveness and a collective drive towards a common goal.

Developing a team while delivering a critical function like payroll requires a very specific skillset. It’s the difference between knowing when someone needs mentorship, needs coaching, or simply just to be managed to develop and achieve their goals.

In this article, Brona breaks down her top 10 tips for leading teams through the change process.


1. Define the change initiative – Senior leaders need to be clear on the change objective and desired outcome of the change initiative they are seeking to achieve

Change management programmes will often generate an emotional reaction within Teams, which is why it is essential that Senior Management communicate their “why” so that the desired outcome is understood by all, enhancing buy in and ensuring all Team members are on the same page in terms of expectations, timelines etc.


2. Assess the culture of the organisation taking into consideration the potential appetite for change

Culture is at the very heart of what makes an organisation unique. An organisation cannot change its culture simply by updating its mission statement or putting a new framework in place. Changing culture involves changing deeply entrenched mindsets. Leaders and Managers need to understand their team’s organisational culture which significantly affects employee experience and in turn, employee engagement.


3. Appoint a coalition/core Team of key/senior stakeholders who will create and support the process around which the change initiative will be rolled out

Identify key partners, potential leaders and managers and garner their investment in and commitment to the project. If possible, involve them in the creation of your change management vision from the outset and provide them with the tools to work as a Team, continuing to build momentum and urgency for change. Identify potential weaknesses within coalition and validate a good mix from diverse areas e.g., age, experience, skillset etc


4. Assess the needs of all Team members both individually and collectively and define their roles and responsibilities

Change Management Teams function far more effectively when they understand what is expected of them and when their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined leading to greater levels of accountability, cohesiveness, collaboration and productivity while minimising any duplication of efforts, frustrations, confusion and disappointment within the Team.


5. Coach and mentor Team members supporting and empowering them to work through the implications of the change initiative themselves

Providing a safe, psychological environment, via coaching and mentoring supports, which encourages shared learning and continuous improvement will instil confidence, inspire, encourage and motivate Teams to remove any self-limiting beliefs and obstacles and empower them to achieve their full potential, all essential to transition through the change initiative.


6. Communicate, communicate, communicate/Engage, engage, engage at all levels

There is little point in establishing a clear vision of your change objective if you do not share it with employees at all levels. Try to use every opportunity to communicate this vision with them creating a sense of purpose and mission that they are on the journey with you and essential to its success. Take the time to actively listen to their feedback (positive and negative), ensuring you follow through on any action items that have been discussed and agreed upon.


7. Establish a resistance to change plan

It is completely natural to expect some form of resistance, which should be welcomed as opposed to evading it. Communicate to Teams that it is perfectly acceptable to grapple with the change programme and create structures for Team members either on an individual or collective basis to share their resistance, challenge and question the initiative but also empower them to propose alternative solutions to those specific areas they are not entirely at ease it.


8. Establish a conflict resolution process

While conflict traditionally invokes negative connotations, it should also be considered healthy and necessary to the overall effectiveness and productivity of Teams. As a change leader, is it essential to adopt a basic framework for resolving conflict with Teams to mitigate any destructive behaviour. Throughout the conflict resolution process, remain empathetic but firm and keep the focus on the process as opposed to personalities.


9. Celebrate the successes and reflect on aspects of the change initiative where learnings can be exploited continuously assessing and adapting

As the change initiative evolves, you will undoubtedly experience some quick wins and early successes. Communicate and celebrate these with all stakeholders (ring the bell!) reinforcing the message that all steps taken can and will contribute to the overall change objective. Equally important is acknowledging those areas that have not gone to plan ensuring you communicate the message that what is important is the key learning takeaways that can be garnered going forward.


10. Continue the dialogue using language that forms part of business-as-usual processes providing ongoing coaching and mentoring supports

Make continuous efforts to ensure change is embodied within the organisation. Ensure continuity within change leadership programme by replacing key employees when they have left. Create internal methods to ensure suggestions for change initiatives at all levels of the organisation are encouraged, welcomed and acted upon.


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