Overcoming Employees Resistance to Change in the Workplace

Sometimes when there are changes being made in the workplace, employees become resistant and don’t want to cooperate. There are reasons why employees feel this way and working through these reasons with them will help your employees to come on board. So below are some reasons why your employees may be not happy about changes in the workplace. Then the ways to overcome this resistance will be given.

  • Job loss: The fear of losing their jobs is one of the major reasons why your employees may be resisting changes. If a new process, system, change in product or technological advancement is implemented; it could mean cost reductions by eliminating jobs to them that were once needed. Even when it isn’t the case, the fact that changes are being made makes the rumor mill churn out rumors faster than product. This means employees may believe things even when they are obviously untrue about their jobs being lost.
  • Poor communication: Communication usually clears things up, but no communication can cause chaos. How the change is communicated is important then in regards to how the employees will react. So, your employees need to know what changes are going in an orderly and reasonable way. It can’t change week to week either. These changes are going to affect them after all.
  • Lack of trust: If you run your business with trust in the management then there won’t be more as resistance to change. But if there is mistrust between your employees and management, then things can spiral out of control quickly.
  • Fear of the unknown: So, if there isn’t communication and the employees don’t trust management, then the employees will feel as if they don’t know what’s going on. This can start rumors and confusion and the employees being caught off guard. This could obviously cause turmoil within your workforce. The less your employees know about what’s going on, the more afraid they will become.

How to overcome resistance in employees

There are ways to overcome resistance and implement change effectively.  Below are some suggestions on how to do this:

  • Overcoming opposition: The employees who are against the change should be engaged. By having their concerns aired, you can alleviate the problems and calm the fears. When you allow them their input, then they will feel as if they are part of a team. Also, explaining why the change is needed is essential. It will be easier to stop the resistance and encourage workers to become advocates instead. This is because they’ll see the whole picture and how the changes will benefit them.
  • Engage the employees: Listen to what your employees have to say. Listen and then respond with the appropriate feedback. When the change is implemented, ask them how it’s working out too, how can it be improved and do they have any questions or concerns? But if the feedback is going to be gathered, then it needs to be read and used appropriately. It isn’t supposed to be just a clear the air session with no action. When changes are to be made and the employees’ ideas and concerns are addressed, then they know that they’re being heard.
  • Make the changes in stages: You should make the changes in stages, not all the changes at once. Prepare your employees for the changes too, then put the changes into action. Manage the changes by being involved with them and support the changes. Let everyone know that the changes are going as planned.
  • Communicate the change effectively: Let your employees know what’s going on as the changes progress. Use both formal and informal communication techniques so that all the employees are privy to the news. Use emails, the company internet, town halls where appropriate, and face-to-face meetings. By using several different types of communications to help explain the goals, visions, and expectation of what’s happening and why; you can manage things better. Just make sure that everyone involved with the communication is on the same page.

Companies grow and with growth comes change. Getting employees to get on board can be difficult unless you’re transparent with your facts and about what the changes are going to bring. After all, no one gets promoted if there is nothing to promote up to which is something change can bring.