We have all heard of the old adage ‘The only constant in this world is CHANGE’. Change is inevitable. And yet many of us resist change. People talk about innovation and how beneficial it is for everyone involved, but when it comes to adopting these changes, there are those who become suddenly stubborn. History has for example, been witness to revolutions where people were initially opposed to change, but later on gave into it.
In the workplace, changes can occur in the form of a new process, adopting a productivity-boosting tool, restructuring of departments or a merger, takeover or downsizing. These changes can affect the professional and personal lives of employees. No wonder they may be resistant to change.
Let us understand the primary reasons behind this resistance:
- Uncertainty – Employees fear the unknown. They fear for their position, their salary and most importantly their future in the organisation.
- Lack of control – Employees realise that their once smooth-running life is skewed and that they have no control over it.
- Feeling of inadequacy – Employees doubt whether their present skills will match up to the new role. Their confidence in their ability to perform their duties and produce results takes a serious beating.
- Complacency – Employees fear moving outside their personal comfort zone. They have been doing their job in a particular way for years. They find this sudden uprooting, threatening.
Regardless, the change will happen. The organisation foresees the long-term benefits which the employees may not. That said, it is still an unpleasant prospect for managers and leaders to have to force their employees through the change process.
What can the organisation do to ensure a smooth transitioning?
First and foremost, the people driving the change need to understand the emotional reasons behind the resistance. They cannot suddenly and casually announce a big change and expect their employees to simply toe the line.
Here are a few tips on how organisations can make their employees work towards acceptance:
Planning – Take into account that change is a big thing for employees. It should be properly planned before it is announced. A change should be avoided if:
- there are too many changes currently occurring within the organization,
- employees are still reeling under the effect of the last change,
- an employee is experiencing personal issues.
Communication is key – Many employees feel that management don’t not care about the issues they are experiencing, while supervisors can feel that employees do not want to understand why a change is good for the organization as well as for them. A regular and solid communication line between all stakeholders can be helpful to make the transition smoother all round.
Be transparent – Many employees fear that management will cheat them under the disguise of change and so they do not trust management. The onus is on management to allay their fears. It is important for management to be honest and transparent in its dealings and actions. Communicate to employees the reasons behind the change, how it will affect the organization and them in the long run, what they can expect in terms of work load, role, responsibilities, change in salaries (if any), etc.
Appoint a politician – Well, we don’t mean literally! A good manager doesn’t need to be someone who is close to the employees. It is a difficult situation that needs to be handled delicately and wisely. Hence, the organisation needs to pick a person, a change leader, who can effectively communicate with all employees, without alienating them.
Promote learning – People are more likely to support change if they feel they have the required skills, knowledge and capability to operate effectively. Management should promote and encourage learning and development in relevant areas in order to ensure employees are change ready.
Show the ‘carrot’ – Motivation is one of the greatest driving factors. Employees need to be motivated to accept the change. Change leaders should make employees aware of the positive impacts the change will have on them at an individual, team and organizational level. Change leaders should highlight the opportunities that the change presents, to learn new things and that while it may seem scary or risky, without such challenges, capacity for growth is limited.
At Cegos Asia Pacific, we offer a blended training program on Leading Change.
This course is specifically designed to help individuals (to):
- identify their profile as a change leader, as well as their team members’ profiles
- clarify the objectives behind the decision to change and explain them to their team
- engage their team members and nurture a proactive approach to change
- build a productive network in a changing environment
- succeed in their ‘first steps’ towards change
Inquire with us today to learn more about this course at /contact-us/