Embrace change

Tips for helping your charity’s staff and volunteers embrace change

Charity shops are no strangers to change. You’ve adapted over the years to advances in technology and shifts in consumer needs. But just as you think you’ve found your feet, a new piece of technology, legislation, or global pandemic comes along to shake everything up.

 

That’s the double-edged sword that is change. It can be brilliant. Embracing change helps your charity stay agile, reduce inefficiencies, and secure more revenue. But for staff and volunteers, change can also bring uncertainty, fear, and anxiety about the future. 

 

To fully embrace change, you need everybody on-board. So what can be done? Here are our four quick tips for helping your people face it head-on.

 

Be transparent

Anxiety about change comes from a fear of the unknown. And the best way to combat this is to be completely transparent from the get-go. The sooner you tell staff a change is coming, the more time they have to adjust and prepare for it. 

 

Rather than springing changes on your staff and volunteers last minute, bring them along for the entire journey. Communicate with them as soon as you recognise you need to make a change. Share the process of assessing your options for a solution. And when you find a solution, give everyone plenty of time to prepare for its implementation. 

 

Whether it’s a new till system, Gift Aid process, or stockroom layout, communicating early will make for far smoother transitions.

 

Focus on “why?”

When it comes to change, you want to focus on the why. Why are you looking to add new digital tools? Why are you changing the shop’s open and closing procedures? Why is it time for a new EPoS system?

 

Even for small changes, get in the habit of explaining why they’re important. As well as what you’re expecting as a result. By singing about its benefits, you make it something positive. And it’ll be easier for staff and volunteers to get excited for what’s coming.

 

Explaining why changes are important will also give peace of mind. Let’s say you’re looking to embrace automation and invest in new technologies. Staff might worry their job is in jeopardy. When in actuality, you’re making the changes to improve efficiency and free up their time for other tasks. Communicating this gets everyone on the same page and removes a lot of this unnecessary stress.

 

Make time to listen

Another way to bring staff on-board with change is to make it more of a conversation. Open-source changes (collaborations between management and employees) are far more effective (58% success rate) than top-down changes made by management alone (a 38% success rate). 

 

Your staff and volunteers’ feedback, concerns, and suggestions will be invaluable. Especially when you’re talking about changes to daily processes or tools that they’ll be using most. Welcoming – and actively encouraging – their input will not only improve their engagement, but result in better decisions and results long-term. 

 

Offer support

Large organisational changes won’t happen overnight. Any new equipment, processes, or technologies will need an adjustment period. And it’s important your staff and volunteers know you’re there to help them through it. For example, say it’s a new piece of technology. Will you be providing the technical support to iron out any teething issues in those first few weeks? 

 

Ongoing training and support reassures your people and makes embracing change feel less daunting. Sometimes, all it takes is acknowledging that mistakes or misunderstandings might happen, but that you’ll overcome them together as a team.

 

Adapting to change is nothing new for your charity. But as people, we all have different tolerances to it. So to get the best outcomes, you’ll want to guide your staff and volunteers through any evolution in your organisation.

 

CHARiotWeb is a SaaS EPoS system built specifically for the charity sector. With a simple, volunteer-friendly interface, intelligent modules, and ongoing technical support, your staff and volunteers will become more efficient and confident in no time. To find out more, reach out to us on 01204 706 000.