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Managing a Change in Process

Change can be scary, but sometimes when it comes to the processes in our laboratory, change can make our routines more efficient, and ultimately result in better patient care. So what should you do if you’re a laboratory manager or supervisor who needs to implement a change? What do you need to do to ensure employee buy in?


First, understand why your employees may resist the change. Lack of communication is one of the biggest reasons people resist change. You don’t want your colleagues to be blindsided by a new process with no input and no warning.


Start with awareness. Be able to answer the who, what, when, and why of the change and share this information with your laboratory. Who is going to be impacted by the change? People who’s daily work is going to be affected are going to want to be told about the change prior to it being made. Even if the decision to change is being made at a corporate level, informing end users and getting their input is important. Knowing the source of the decision and the reason behind the change will provide a framework and reassure your team that this is not just change for the sake of change. There are improved outcomes that can be expected after the change is implemented.


If each individual recognizes how this change will be beneficial, achieving buy in will be easier. Consider your team’s desires when creating your messaging around the project. Tailoring your talking points to highlight how this change will fulfill a desire, like having a reduced workload, or a more ergonomic workstation, will help employees see that this change may not be so bad after all. Consider extrinsic desires as well, such as the desire to improve turnout time and patient standard of care.


Another reason people resist change is they feel they do not have the skills or the training they will need once the new process is in place. They may fear being left behind by a new technology they are not familiar with. Once employees are aware of the change, make sure they are trained in the new process and are comfortable with the steps. They may need to replace old muscle memory so give them time to practice the new process. Be supportive so that if they attempt the new process and find it hard, they do not immediately revert to the old way of doing things. Show your appreciation for their work and be receptive to feedback.


Getting ahead of the change with communication and training prior to implementation can significantly reduce workplace tension surrounding process improvement.


Want to learn more about managing change? Check out “Leadership’s Responsibilities in Process Improvement Projects”, presented by Deb Hagan-Moe, one of the on-demand workshops available during NSH’s Virtual Symposium/Convention, October 13-15th. Deb provides a detailed road map for identifying where process improvements are needed, testing potential changes, developing a change communications plan, and measuring success.


All Convention sessions are recorded and available for 30 days after the event, so you can catch this and other great topics, on your schedule! Click here to register!

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The National Society for Histotechnology is a professional member organization for individuals actively involved in the histology profession. NSH has over 3,000 members worldwide, and is the leading provider of histology focused continuing education.  

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