The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: “I need to get them on-side”

Question: “I’ve very recently taken over a business that has lots of potential so I’m not looking to make job cuts. I will make changes though so what’s the best way to get staff on-side?” David

Answer: It’s great to hear the positivity coming from you and that’s what you need to promote as you spend your first week or so going around talking to people. It’s more than likely that they’ll be highly suspicious at first as the inevitable rumour mill before the take over would have played on their fears and anxieties. A recent Institute of Leadership survey said that trust is the most important aspect in a workplace environment and you’ve still got to earn it. Listen to them first, show genuine interest in who they are and what they’re doing. Not only will that start to allay their fears as the abstract “new boss” becomes someone they can talk to, but you will also pick up some extremely useful indicators as to skills, abilities and communication flows.

If they ask you what your plans are you can reassure them that you’re keen to keep everyone employed as you see potential in the business. When talking about changes, your tone of voice and body language is really important. Most people like certainty so this could doubly threaten them. Be alive to any adverse reaction and respond by acknowledging it and provide reassurance. Ask for their opinions, that way they know that they are being heard and taken into account.

Finally, there’s a reason for the old adage “actions speaks louder than words” so don’t promise unless you can deliver.


Laura Murphy is the founder of mtc2 ltd, a management consultancy, training and coaching company. Laura is an organisation development specialist and business coach. If you have a problem then contact her at

Visit the website on {http://||mtc2}

Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality