It’s been a challenge to employers throughout the ages: employee resistance to change. It can manifest itself in myriad ways, including decreased productivity and output; increased turnover and anxiety; chronic infighting; and plummeting morale and job satisfaction. Troubling at best, and at worst, potentially damaging to your business success, change is a constant that must be effectively managed.

Reasons for Resistance

It’s human nature. People tend to prefer stability and comfort to change, in both their personal and professional lives. Reasons for resistance to workplace change include:

  • Threatened job security: Employees feel threatened when they don’t know what’s going on, and fear of a possible job loss is the leading factor behind this apprehension. Whether change is due to the need for increased efficiency, better turnaround times or other bottlenecks, with these needs often come decisions to downsize or create new roles. This is where fear and insecurity come into play.
  • Lack of trust: In organizations where there is strong trust in management, there is lower resistance to change. Mistrust can lead to a dangerous downward spiral that affects all key business metrics.
  • Poor timing: Sometimes, it’s not the act or decision itself that creates resistance, but how and when word of change is delivered.

Solutions for Your Workplace

To deal with resistance and effectively implement change:

  • Understand the nature of the resistance. What people usually resist is not technical change, but social change, or the accompanying change in human relationships. No two employees are alike. There will be many reasons for opposition, depending on each person. Then, you can tailor ways to work out issues and concerns.
  • Communicate early and often. There should be constant, ongoing dialogue between your C-suite and your general employee population regarding what’s happening on a day-to-day basis, as well as long-term plans. Be truthful, transparent and timely. Provide thorough explanations of why changes are necessary. Help people see the bigger picture by taking a “What’s in it for me?” approach to your messages and media.
  • Get people involved. Engage those who are opposed to change. By allowing employees to give their input, you assure them they are part of a team that truly cares about its members. It will be easier to get people on board and encourage them to become change advocates, versus resisters.

Like it or not, change must be managed in an efficient and responsible manner. In fact, when done well, it can significantly benefit your company for the long term.

If you need guidance in building a team that thrives on change for the better, consider a partnership with StaffMasters. Our recruitment and workforce development experts can help you make it happen. Contact us today for more information.


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