How employee react to change is variable. There are employee that will welcome change with open arms and the promised benefits of change. Then there are employees who are resistant to any type of change and want things to remain the way they have always been. In the middle somewhere there is the ambivalent group that are a combination of wanting change and yet still feeling some resistance to it. Change needs to happen and getting all the employees aboard on the train to change can be a very challenging experience.
Leadership roles put you in the mainstream of identifying when change needs to occur. Helping people understand and deal with change is a major challenge for every manager. There is an expectation that there will be some resistance to change, the secret is to learn to work with it and not against it.
When you see resistance, look on the good side of it. Resistance can be a sign that people are engaged and listening, it does not automatically signal that people are trying to make things impossible. Resistance to change is very common and there are various reasons for it. It may be simply that the employee thinks change is unnecessary or resent how the change was introduced.
Often if a manager involves people in any change processes you will get a better buy in and decrease the amount of resistance. If people feel valued they are more likely to deal with change in a positive manner.
There are always individuals that will require a lot of work to get them to buy in to change. The focus with these individuals should be showing them the gain it will have for them. Sometimes this takes a lot of patience, but the more individuals you get to jump on your wagon, the easier it will be to convince others to jump aboard.
Communication is a key tool to help individuals deal with change. Clarifying exactly what the change is and why it is necessary that the change occur will prevent chaos from happening. Create an environment where there is an urgency for change. If individuals do not see any urgency for the change, people will continue to keep doing things the same old way. It is key that individuals understand the negative consequences if certain changes do not happen. I have to caution anyone involved in change to watch out for the rumor ville. If you keep communicating and be honest with your interactions, the less rumors will have a chance to get started.
If someone is having a problem dealing with change, then have a sit down one to one chat and get them to open up about their feelings. Listening is a skill and many times people just want someone to listen to them. Helping individuals work through their feelings will help some people deal with change,
Communicate the decision making process that was involved in making the decision to change something that affects them. You may need to outline what occurred to get to a new process. Do not assume that everyone has the same information or understands what and why something was changed.
All organizations are experiencing changes and at a faster and more frequent rate than ever before. Change is often an opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity. If you have a majority of employees who expect and have open arms to change then you are a step ahead. Point out the successes that people have had with change. Celebrate success to change with the people involved and help them to see how change has been good for them.
There will always be individuals who will dread change. If you communicate and keep your avenues open, change will be easier for people to accept and deal with. If you do not choose to keep communication open, then the road to change will not be successful and the individuals involved will not see the benefits for the change. Lack of communication is the path to failure and changes will not be accepted or dealt in a positive manner for the people who are involved.