Creative Professionals Skeptical of Workplace Change

Julie Shenkman
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Surveys show that more than 50 percent of creative professionals struggle with changes in the workplace. One of the biggest challenges they face is not being properly prepared for the adjustments they will need to make. It is also easy for this group to feel disconnected from change because, often times, they are not involved in any of the decision-making that led to it.

According to a recent survey conducted by The Creative Group and AIGA, 51 percent of creative professionals feel most challenged by having to adapt to new internal processes and procedures. When a company undergoes staff changes, 48 percent of creative teams feel overwhelmed and view this as a complication. Lastly, the survey shows that 37 percent of them feel particularly skeptical when a business changes its direction.

This survey also reveals that only 51 percent of creative professionals feel as though they receive sufficient training to handle major changes in the workplace. Diane Domeyer, Executive Director of The Creative Group, states, "Change in the workplace almost always results in an initial dip in productivity and morale as people adapt." She also offers some useful advice that can help companies deal with major changes. "Managers can ease the process by communicating openly and often, and setting appropriate expectations during the transition. Pressure to see immediate improvements can backfire."

The Creative Group shares five major mistakes that managers make when implementing change and tips on how to avoid them. The first is do not keep employees in the dark. When workers think change is coming but they don't know what it is, that often triggers fear, resentment and anger. The best way to diffuse these feelings before they start is to involve employees in the process. Next, managers often fail to delegate. Great leaders share responsibilities with staff members so everyone feels involved and more in control. Third, never give creative professionals or anyone else the cold shoulder. Everyone's emotions in the workplace should be acknowledged and validated. Fourth, managers should not be too headstrong. While staying firm is important at times, being flexible is just as crucial for success. Lastly, do not express doubts regarding the changes. As a manager, your enthusiasm toward these adjustments is important to keep everyone motivated.

Creative professionals perform best when they feel that they are an important part of any major process. These workers also need positive reinforcement, which helps them to stay productive even under stressful or difficult situations. Involving them in the process and maintaining an encouraging and optimistic attitude are the best ways to minimize skepticism toward change in the workplace.

The good news is that there are many ways to improve how creative professionals feel about and react to change in the workplace. In order to achieve this, managers must understand the mistakes that lead to skepticism and how to avoid them.


Photo courtesy of Deb Nystrom at



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