Are you dizzy yet? It’s a fast-paced world and work is no exception. In fact, the only thing that is constant at work is change. And, all this change has some folks stressed out or checked out. Even in companies with detailed change management plans in place, they are finding that the best plans can and will fall short if it isn’t supported by one very simple thing. Conversations.

During times of transformation and change, conversations around engagement can create a sustained and measurable difference. They can empower leaders in any organization to tap into their employee’s discretionary effort and bring that energy into the workplace. When the relationship is directed at these issues, it helps leaders find simple, yet meaningful, ways to engage their talent beyond the everyday distractions.

In times of change, candid conversations are essential to build on the employee investment. Consider these for starters.

  • Co-create a game plan. Revitalize employee interest by involving them fully in goal-setting and plans for restructur­ing and reorganizing. Co-create the plans so that they are not designed in isola­tion, but don’t do the task for them.
  • Never stop investing. It would be a mistake to stop investing in employee development. Maximize the contri­butions of all employees by provid­ing them with skills, knowledge, and resources for now and the future.
  • Strategize for mutual gain. Employees need their own investment strategies. They need to be candid with themselves about staying with their or­ganizations. They should understand and think creatively about the wide range of skills and abilities they use now and have used in the past. Any competency can be applied to more than one area. (Someone may be a regional sales manager by title, but his core competency may be market­ing, communications, or supervision.)
  • Talk and listen. What employees re­ally want are two-way conversations with their managers to talk about their abilities, choices, frustrations, and ideas. They want someone to listen. They may not expect someone to have all the an­swers, but they really want to have the dialogue. It is essential that managers hold a stay interview with every con­tributing member of their team.
  • Be well and be fit. Show interest in your employee’s well-being. Set the example you want them to follow. Hold a balance discussion and support your employees in achieving balance when it’s out of whack. Watch for signs of excess stress and point them to the appropriate resources for help.

Engagement builds or diminishes in every interaction between the manager and the employee. A tall order when you are a manager leading through change. Conversations can provide valuable insight to managers and often be the motivation to do what they know should be done. Managers often remark that it’s the conversations that remind them to make the time to out practical strategies into practice.

Today’s change-weary work force is not inspired by more work and less time to do it. They can be inspired by leaders who take an interest in their needs, expectations and challenges. Engaging conversations that result in action plans can move the needle on engagement and provide a sustainable focus on employees through conversation and action.