Updated: Nov 1, 2019
Resistance is one of the more commonly cited reasons for change not working. The time spent on managing the resistance is time that could be better spent on sharing progress and success stories.
Why do people resist change? It's likely one or all of these according to Achilles Armenakis: 1. They don't believe the change is necessary 2. They don't believe the change is appropriate for the problem 3. They don't believe the change can be implemented 4. They don't believe their superiors and peers will support the change 5. They don't believe they will benefit from the change.
An important part of planning and preparing for change #changereadiness is considering the change and where employees sit with these five beliefs. Understanding the gap can help you with more precise solutions.
Here are 4 specific ways you can you reduce resistance:
1. Compelling Reasons - Most of the time leaders are focused on the Business reasons for change i.e. competitive pressure, increase sales, reduce costs, legal requirements etc. Whilst this may address the first belief, it does nothing to address the second or fifth beliefs. So address these with - why this particular change is required and what other options were considered and of course highlight what's in it for them WIIFT.
2. Communication - Most companies don't communicate enough with their employees. This is made even worse (ironically) by the reliance on technology like email and websites. Understand all the stakeholders in the change and create a plan for regular communication through various vehicles. Provide progress reports, quick wins, results, reinforce the vision, compelling business reasons and behaviours etc. This last one will address beliefs two and three.
3. Increase interaction - For various reasons leaders and managers can often go 'missing' during change. Employees are looking for support, for someone to listen to, to have their questions addressed and much more. Interaction needs to be much more frequent during change. Make it part of the communication plan and/or part of the Key Performance Indicator's for the change. This will address belief number four.
4. Recognition and Reward - During change people usually have to take on extra work and responsibility either by being part of a change team, to test the changes etc. They are also expected to do many new things e.g. change behaviour, new performance measures, learn new skills etc. It's important these things are rewarded and recognized and it adddresses all the beliefs when done well.
Find out more about the importance of Change Readiness