Change Management - 5 Reasons Employees Resist Change

Change Management - 5 Reasons Employees Resist Change

  • Date: Friday 20th September 2019
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Change is always hard. Whether you’re a fledgling employee who has just mastered their new employers’ policies, or an old hand who has spent years following the same (seemingly) tried and true daily routine, change means going back to the drawing board, opening yourself up to vulnerability and potentially trying something that no one is too sure will actually work.

Yet change is an essential part of business; the innumerable number of corporate juggernauts who at one time dominated their market, but refused to embrace change when it became a necessity such as AOL, Polaroid and Blackberry, to name a few, should serve as a constant warning for all companies to take a stance of constant diligence and openness to the unstoppable tide of progress.

The failings of these companies, however, always lie with the senior management team, whose job it is to evaluate a broader view of the business; the same simply cannot be asked of John in accounting, or Edward the Graphic Designer. Lower level employees don’t see the necessity to change, they just see a disconcerting alteration to their daily routine. 

It’s essential that managers understand the reasons for this hesitation, as it’s only through understanding that you can work with employees to ensure that the outcome doesn’t needlessly negatively impact them. With that in mind, here are five of the top reasons why change is so often denounced:

Harsh truth 

Firstly, as a leader, it’s important to accept that change for the sake of change, especially when it comes to organisational structures, is pointless. Unless the change is specifically benefitting your company, your direction or your people, then seriously consider whether it’s worth it. If you constantly make unnecessary changes, eventually it’ll start impacting on your employees’ wellbeing, and that will lead to a higher turnover and loss of productivity.

Fear of the unknown 

Change – even good change – is by nature different, and different is scary. One of the main reasons that employees push back against change isn’t because of the new policy or its implications – but because of the change itself. To combat this, ensure that all employees are aware of the change for as long as possible before implementing it, and explain everything about it as clearly as possible. Takes as much of the unknown out of the experience as possible.

It’s a gamble 

Whereas some change, say updating to the latest version of technology, is small and incremental, others like jumping off into the deep end. If something isn’t working, businesses shouldn’t feel bad about tearing the system down and starting again. This is always a gamble and the place in which it is felt most acutely is among the staff who are implementing it.

Loss of knowledge 

It’s never nice to master something and then have it become redundant. Yes, it’s necessary, but it’s still hard to accept that your skill set – something that you’ve built confidence around and something that feels safe, is now completely redundant. You’ve invested so many hours into learning a process; it was scary to do at first, but now you’ve mastered it and just like that – you have to start all over again.

Poor timing 

The last, and possibly most important reasons is that often, when a lot of change comes all at once, employees find themselves overwhelmed. Changing just one element of your job can be challenging, but when the business receives a complete overhaul, it can be tempting to throw in the towel. This is often why businesses see a mass exodus in times of innovation or large change, and although it’s hard to experience at the time, it’s also totally natural.

Source: HR Grapevine

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