How to Overcome an Employee’s Resistance to Change

February 22, 2017 | 1,702 views

How to Overcome an Employee's Resistance to Change

How to Overcome an Employee’s Resistance to Change

Do you know what’s scary? Change. People regularly sprint from the idea of doing things differently because it feels uncomfortable. It means shaking up the normal routine. It means creating new habits. Change is hard work, but it’s also necessary – especially when it means a long-term benefit to your business.


If you’re ready to adopt new systems in your business, you’re going to need to get your team on board with the discomfort of change. Here are a few steps to ease into a new routine, new piece of technology, or new standard in your company.


Explain Why the Change is Happening

One of the first rules in teaching is to teach why something matters. If you give a person a reason for why you’ve decided to make an adjustment to your old ways of doing things, he’s more likely to understand your thought process and your reasoning. This, in turn, makes him more likely to adapt to the new procedure.


Be Benefits Centric

It’s important that your reasoning shows a benefit to the person who needs to update his behavior. Talk about what’s in it for him and he’ll have more incentive to adapt as needed.


For example, if you’re changing your scheduling system from printed spreadsheets to a new online scheduling app, you could explain that you’re making the change in an effort to simplify the time-off request process and shift changes between employees. The work/life benefits that are inherent with making it easier to get time off are enticing.


Publicly Define the Expected Adjustment Period

You can’t expect change to happen overnight. People need time to form new habits and make adjustments to their current modes of operation.


Still, you don’t want the adoption period to drag on for months or years.


By publicly defining how long you expect the adjustment to take place, you’re setting a standard. You’re giving people flexibility but you’re also giving them a deadline. This deadline motivates employees to act instead of continuing to resist the change.


Adopt a “No Exceptions” Attitude

It’s easy to make excuses in the midst of the change. One person isn’t comfortable with something so you make an exception for her. Another person wants things done slightly differently so you make an exception for him. Soon, you’re making too many exceptions and fewer people are adopting the new process or procedure.


By going into the change with a “no exceptions” attitude, you eliminate excuses, which in turn will help eliminate the natural resistance to change that your employees might feel.


Celebrate the Change!

As you progress toward your deadline of full adoption for your new mode of operation, celebrate small milestones along the way. This will help continue to prod your employees along so they overcome their resistance to the change that you want to see happen.


Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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