Resistance to change

We all know an individual that is not willing to change. Maybe it is an exco that wants to appoint a trusted person, knowing that they might not be a right fit and the staff will resist all their proposed changes. Resistance to change is the unwillingness to adapt to new circumstances or ways of doing things. It can happen with individuals, relationships, or within organisations. There are many reasons for resistance, but at its heart, resistance is rooted in the fear of the unknown.

There are many tell-tale signs that employees are resisting change. They may complain more than usual, miss key meetings, or bluntly refuse to participate in new initiatives. You need to recognise this resistance as it can become an issue for organisational behaviour. It is more important to understand why your employees are pushing back in the first place.

Why do employees resist change?

With every change, employees ultimately want to know what is in it for them.  If you have not made that clear, you are bound to encounter resistance to change at every step in the process.

Before you begin implementing major changes in your workplace, start by sharing the objectives you hope to achieve and how the changes will benefit employees. Some employees may resist it because they believe that the change is not beneficial for them and will negatively impact their work, violate their values in some way or threaten their finances, their health or their well-being. Some employees may worry about not being able to successfully adapt their behaviour. Or they may not trust the people who are communicating the change or have observed previous poor handling of the change in the organisation.

It is usually not the change itself that challenges us; it is the psychological transition we experience that ultimately leads to success or failure.

Six steps to mitigate the resistance

  1. Communicate the benefits – Before explaining the efforts required by the team to ensure the change, tell them what the benefits are. This helps employees to understand how change can be an added advantage to their work life and avoid resistance. Then listen to their feedback and act where needed.
  2. Focus on the individual- The biggest reason leaders encounter resistance to change is they fail to account for the human impact of it. While you may initially communicate changes to a large group, you need to understand how those changes affect each individual.
  3. Elaborate on change – Management must be honest and explain the amount of commitment required by employees to implement the change. This reduces unfamiliar cultural and other experiences while tackling hurdles during the process.
  4. Improvise change when necessary – Sustainable change can take up to two years to implement. During this process, the employees need to understand that changes will be made to ensure that the results are what the company wanted to achieve. This will change and change once more.
  5. Create and celebrate milestones – Break the change process down into smaller segments. This assists the organisation to track the change process and celebrate the milestones achieved. Ensure that each milestone and adaptation are unfolding correctly to support the next stage of change.
  6. Allow feedback and improvements – To avoid resistance to change, employees should be able to provide their ideas and improvements concerning the change. It works both ways as the management can also provide feedback on the employees’ contribution to the change process. This level of open communication can assist organisations to implement change seamlessly.

Do change right the first time

Failed attempts to change aspects of your organisational behaviour will harm how employees view future initiatives.  Make sure you are doing the change right the first time. Go to great lengths to ensure it is successful and set realistic timelines. Many companies fail to successfully implement change because they overload employees and expect near-immediate gratification. The reality of change management boils down to one fact: It takes time.

#changemanagement #change #effectivecommunication

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