It’s human nature to gravitate toward stability and comfort, and it’s common for employees to resist change. If you are planning to make changes within your business, it’s important that you expect and prepare for some resistance. Just remember that this resistance is often an outgrowth of employees’ fears that their roles will be made irrelevant after the changes are instituted.
For many people, change can be scary. Often, when employers introduce new programs or policies, employees get upset. Change can be a problem because it often causes a decline in quality and production as employees try to adapt. However, in spite of the temporary discomfort it causes, change is natural and necessary for businesses to continue to grow and thrive.
Here are some tips to help you effectively manage change within your company:
Be transparent — Don’t tiptoe around the issue of why the change is occurring. As early as you can in the process, explain to your employees what the change is and why it is necessary. Doing so can help create understanding between you and your employees and give them a chance to be part of the solution. You aren’t bound to act on all of their suggestions, but having them be part of the process will help them feel like they are involved and invested in the change.
Be aware of employees’ perceptions — Employees’ perceptions of a change will greatly influence how they accept it. If they perceive that the change will affect them negatively in some way, they will resist more. So try to paint the change in as positive a light as you can.
Come up with solutions — Changes on a large scale may not lend themselves to addressing everyone’s concerns, especially if you are adjusting employees’ positions or workloads. However, you should still work with your employees to resolve their concerns.
As a business owner, it is important to address why your employees are resisting a change. If you attempt to force your way forward, regardless of workers’ feelings, the damage to your business could be catastrophic as morale plummets and productivity decreases.
An unknown author once said that “leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.” As you empower your employees by giving them an avenue to voice their concerns, most will follow your lead and eventually support your change.