Why do people resist change in an organisation?

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Answered by: Amanda, An Expert in the Change Management and Culture Category
In order for an organisation to remain competitive and meet the constant demands of customers, it is essential that it continues to evolve and seek out new and improved ways of providing its products and services. Leveraging off technology and adapting to industry regulations are just some of the key triggers which result in an organisation tweaking processes or introducing new and improved methods of output.

Not all employees, however, are accepting of disruptions to the norm, so it is important that management play an important role in addressing any specific issues that may crop up.

Why do people resist change?

Job insecurity

Change typically brings with it an adjustment to an organisational structure, as processes are streamlined and new functions introduced to bring about greater efficiencies. Job insecurity can be a direct result of such change and employees can feel very unsettled. Surprisingly though, this is a very common side effect and it can be addressed rather promptly. Placing extra focus and attention on communication through periods of change can help to ensure everyone impacted is on the same page and clear as to the whys and whats. A little extra communication can go a long way towards avoiding resistance.

Disruptions to routine

Most employees thrive on being able to perform in their role to a level that not only pleases management but gets results. A slight disruption to routine can throw even the most conscientious employee, particularly if a new process or procedure is required of them and they are not adequately trained to perform it. Management must make a conscious effort to ensure that adequate training is offered and support is provided to those directly impacted.

Fear of the unknown

Many organisational changes can be a long time coming and the bigger picture may not actually be visible until some time in the future. This feeling of delay can cause many staff to have a fear of the unknown and unless there is a two-way communication channel established, rumours can spread and performance can be impacted. Not only should employees be encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback on planned changes, but also it is important that they are kept up to date with the facts as soon as they come to light. By providing a convincing explanation of the reason the change is necessary, staff will get a greater perspective and are much more likely to get on board and be positive about what is around the corner.

Why do people resist change? There are many reasons as to why employees feel uncomfortable about changes in the workplace, however it is important that they realise that any business that continues to grow will continually experience times of adjustment. Those in leadership roles are required to play a very important part during these situations and make every effort to take those loyal employees along on the journey. Management need to also acknowledge that people experience resistance to change in many different ways, so a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate when tackling concerns raised.

Organisational change is ongoing and very important for businesses that seek growth and ongoing success.

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