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Change is the only constant. But does that mean everyone loves it? Not really. Employees are known to be some of the biggest opponents of change.
In fact, change management is a top HR priority, with over (as per Gartner) 47% of leaders focusing on it. An effective way to handle change management is by leveraging an employee management system. These come with specialized change management tools that help organizations navigate changes more efficiently, especially with employees.
In this blog we look at reasons for resistance to change and some best practices to manage them.
What Leads to Change Resistance?
To effectively address change resistance with an employee management software, the first step is to understand its fundamentals.
In most organizations, not many employees are inclined to welcome change with enthusiasm. The reality is that individuals generally favor stability and comfort, whether in their personal or professional lives.
Yet, despite the preference for the status quo, change is an inevitable factor that must be faced. In recent years, the business landscape has seen a shift towards change as a standard occurrence. Organizations adept at navigating change seamlessly will gain a competitive advantage. Often, the attempt to respond to evolving customer expectations better and faster are major drivers for a need to reorganize the workplace and transform company culture.
Reasons for Change Resistance
As per a McKinsey survey, 70% of change programs fail to achieve goals, mainly due to employee resistance. So even while change management decisions are made at the C-suite level, it is still essential to have a nod for the change from the entire employee cohort.
It’s important to understand that resistance to change is not necessarily because employees do not have faith in the organization. Rather, it is linked to below areas:
1. Employee Engagement and Communication
Employees who aren’t actively engaged in a workplace are more likely to have a negative mindset when it comes to change. More importantly, they will also strongly push back the idea of an overhaul of the system.
Another central reason for employees to oppose change is lack of communication. How the change process is communicated to the employees is significant. The key is to have a well-structured change management plan. This plan should include ways to encourage change acceptance and create willingness among employees to contribute to the success of the change.
2. Job Insecurity
The fear of losing a job is another primary factor for employee resistance to workplace change. In any business, ongoing adjustments are inevitable, driven by a need for increased efficiency and quicker turnaround times.
Amidst this, there’s a chance the company could either downsize or generate new positions, thereby triggering concerns about job security.
3. Faith in Management
Trust and faith are crucial in steering a business toward success. In organizations characterized by a high level of trust in management, resistance to change tends to be minimized.
Conversely, a climate of mutual mistrust between management and employees can send the company into a downward spiral.
4. Fear of Uncertainty
In situations where companies frequently confront uncertainty about the future, there is an increased likelihood that employees may not react positively to change. The mere mention of change can catch them off guard, fostering surprise and exacerbating the overall situation.
5. Lack of a Proper Schedule
Resistance to change does not always stem from the change itself. It can often be attributed to how the change is executed. Offering a well-defined schedule outlining what will happen and when it will happen can mitigate concerns that might otherwise lead to resistance.
Best Practices to Overcome Resistance to Change
While it’s a worn-out saying that change is a gradual process, it is still the reality. Innovation is a continuous process with new ideas and suggestions emerging daily. Whether it involves changing perspectives on projects or reshaping the day-to-day office dynamic, there are always opportunities for enhancement.
Here are some of the best practices to be followed while addressing employee resistance to change. Most of them can be achieved well with the help of an employee management system.
1. Tackling Objection
Irrespective of how effectively companies navigate change, encountering opposition is inevitable. To address this, companies should actively engage with those opposing the change, seeking insights into their concerns.
An employee management software can help engage with employees who are opposed to the change. In this process, the latter gets an opportunity to voice opinions, reinforcing the notion that they are valued members of the organization. This leads to an overall feeling that the organization genuinely cares about their well-being.
Besides, maintaining a continuous dialogue between the C-Suite and general employees, detailing day-to-day developments and future plans, is essential. The key to while managing this communication is to be honest, transparent and timely, particularly when implementing significant changes in the workplace.
2.Offer a Rationale
Offering a clear explanation for the need for change is important. Enhancing employees’ understanding of why a particular change is important for the company makes it easier to get their support.
It also has the potential to transform them into advocates for change. Including an explanation of the “what’s in it for me?” aspect enables employees to understand the broader picture and recognize the advantages of the change.
3. Actively Engage Employees
Listening is the cornerstone of effective employee engagement. Companies need to actively receive and respond to employee feedback. Leveraging an employee management software is a great way to send out employee engagement and feedback surveys. The insights gathered can be instrumental in refining plans and demonstrating to employees that their concerns are valued.
The questions can be something like is the change yielding positive results, how can we enhance its effectiveness, do you have any concerns/questions and so on. It is also equally important to act upon the feedback received.
Recognizing the individuality of each employee is another essential strategy when addressing employee concerns. Acknowledging the diversity in reasons for resistance is necessary, allowing managers to tailor solutions based on individual needs and concerns.
4. Introduce Change Gradually
Change is a process that unfolds in stages. Companies need to anticipate the change by thorough preparation. The idea is to initiate the change, taking concrete steps and formulating a comprehensive plan for its management.
Sustain the change, ensuring that everything progresses according to the established plan.
5. Effectively Convey Change
As an employer, the most effective way to communicate change is to be transparent with employees about the details. Employing a mix of formal and informal communication methods ensures that all employees are informed about the change in some capacity.
Depending on the company’s size and the nature of the change, a communication plan can be implemented through various channels—emails, company-wide meetings, small group discussions, one-on-one sessions, or a combination of these approaches. An employee management system can be used to set up a workflow for this comprehensive communication plan.
Initiating change can be intimidating, but it is necessary not to let employee apprehension hamper the process. To ensure a smooth transition, invest time in strategic planning as well as robust support systems like an employee management software.
A comprehensive Human Capital Management (HCM) like Akrivia HCM with an integrated employee management software can be instrumental in navigating change. Connect with Akrivia HCM today to explore how the employee management system can facilitate change management.