Addressing Employee Resistance to Change

Addressing Employee Resistance to Change


  • Date: Tuesday 24th September 2019
  • PDF: Download

It has long been acknowledged that change can be hard for employees at all levels within an organisation.  However, change is essential for the survival of any organisation as progress is inevitable.  Business leaders need to take a broad view of the business climate and act when lower level employees may not see a need for change.

So how should leaders seek to overcome employee resistance to change?

Ensure a Meaningful Purpose

Ensure your reasons for change are for the improvement of the organisation.  Constant unnecessary change will impact upon employee wellbeing, lead to higher turnover and negatively impact productivity.

Address “fears of the unknown”

One of the main reason’s employees push back against change is because of their fear of the change itself.  This can be combated by setting out a communication plan and ensuring that employees are aware of the planned change for as long as possible before implementing it.  Ensure you give regular and detailed communication (in multiple forms) to explain everything you can about the change as clearly as possible.  This step will reduce the feeling of the unknown amongst the workforce.

Loss of Knowledge

Some employees resist change because of frustrations around having mastered something that is now being removed or becoming redundant.  When part of the skill set an employee has mastered is removed it can impact upon their confidence and sense of security especially after the many hours it took to develop the knowledge.  Now they are faced with the prospect of having to do it all over again.  Ensure you plan a recognition strategy to reward employees once they are up and running with the new systems.

Get the Timing Right

Employees can feel overwhelmed when a lot of change comes all at once.  Be cautious about making multiple changes simultaneously to avoid your team members taking flight.  Sometimes though it is necessary to push ahead with innovation or large changes so ensure you plan ahead for a potential increase in turnover as you complete the implementation.

What’s in it for me? “WIIFM”

Any employee faced with change will ask the question “what’s in it for me?”  It is important when planning to implement change that you develop a resistance plan and at the core of this you should identify the benefits the change will bring to individuals and teams and ensure this is communicated repeatedly through multiple methods.

Source: HR Grapevine


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