Nothing stays constant, especially in business. However true this is, it doesn’t make change easy, especially for employees. Whether it’s a new policy or a vision for a project, changes in the workplace will always be met by some kind of resistance. If such goes unaddressed, it will ultimately result in dreadful circumstances, including gossips all over the office, distrust among colleagues, and sometimes, a massive exodus of employees. If you don’t want these evils to take over your business, here are things to do reduce resistance to change among employees.
Engage with them
The worst mistake managers do when rolling out new policies or directions is avoiding discussions. They believe that there’s no need for talks. The fewer people who know, the less resistance. At the same time, people will eventually come around and comply, especially when the change is out there already. The thing is, this only makes for poor employee morale. It’s like you’re saying that employees’ voices don’t matter, that they just have to get over things and follow. In any playbook, that’s not a good way to treat the people you work with, right? Instead of avoiding discussions, listen to your team members. Lay down the plan of change for them. Ask them for feedback. Learn what their concerns are, including doubts, anxieties, and fears. As you become familiar with their anticipated problems, make some tweaks on your plan, accommodating your team’s concerns, without losing sight of your supposed goal. This habit of consulting employees before you introduce change will ensure that change will be beneficial and that your team can transition better.
Champion the benefits
Of course, you shouldn’t just focus on the opposition or the backlash that may happen from the change. In fact, you should place more emphasis on the positive difference the change will bring to your company. For instance, if you’re planning on taking a new, uncharted market, highlight the fact that your people will be known as the trendsetters in the industry. If you’re expanding your product line, rally your employees towards the value of developing new stuff that will serve your clients better. The principle is to highlight what’s in the change for them. As you do that, pick out key employees that will be your “ambassadors for change,” the ones who will share the benefits of your new direction or strategy. When the actual change is rolled out, continue searching for and encouraging more ambassadors, particularly those who are doing a good job under your new strategy or direction. Reward them through your employee incentive programs to build them up further.
Implement change one step at a time
It’s best to introduce changes in increments, instead of a one-time big-time event. This cushions the jarring effect of the change, at the same time, helps the employees cope more easily. How exactly should you do this? For one, you can roll out the change in one department first. For instance, if you’re introducing a new communication software, you may try it out first in the Finance or the HR team. From here, conduct regular meetings with the staff and ask their feedback, particularly things they would want to improve on. Add such suggestions as you roll out the change in other departments. As the rest of the company takes the plunge, provide constant assistance and deliberate every now and then what else you can tweak and enhance.
Again, expect some form of resistance to any change you’re rolling out in the workplace. But also hold on to that assurance that you can weather major shifts and shake-ups when you communicate well and prioritize your employees’ welfare.