Change is a fundamental factor in every organization because it helps the employees to handle the increasing competitive conditions and the technological developments at the workplace. However, change has negatively affected the productivity of organizations since many employees tend to oppose new ideologies and processes. According to Leahy (2003), every organization needs to change to adapt to both internal and peripheral developments. Leahy (2003) affirms that it is hard to initiate changes within organizations because many employees resist changes. Leahy further insists that resistance is a normal reaction to any organizational change whether it is modest improvements, organizational transformations or major changes. He further indicates that where change occurs, there must be resistance because change brings about resistance. Indeed, resistance indicates that change is happening in an organization. Consequently, it is fundamental for every top manager in an organization to ensure that he addresses resistance from both the line managers and employees at the work place.
Causes of resistance to change
According to Palmer (2003), there are different reasons why many people resist changes at the work place. First, people resist change because they consider risks associated with change as grave and uncertain upon comparison to the risks originating from their normal conditions. Palmer says that many people detest changes because they see change as moving to the unknown direction. As such, employees view change as a risky step to take at the workplace. Secondly, most employees resist changes in their organizations because they believe that they enjoy connections with the old people. Normally, every person feels good when he or she feels connected with the people that he easily associates with at the workplace. Therefore, when organizational managers ask employees to embrace changes in the work place, employees would think that they would become disconnected from their ancestors (Palmer, 2004). Thirdly, personnel resist change at the work place because they lack a role model to direct them on the new activity brought by change. In addition, resistance at the work place occurs because employees believe that they lack the competence needed for change. This is because, most organizational changes require new skills, experiences and knowledge making employees feel that they will not meet the requirements. In addition, most people resist changes because they feel encumbered and overwhelmed. These feelings affect the efforts of change within an entity. Resistance to change also occurs because of skepticism that makes them not to trust whether the intended change is sound (Woods & West, 2010). Finally, most people conclude that every change is bad. As such, they resist any category change within their organization.
Overcoming resistance to change
The initiation of changes at the work place faces many challenges because employees always tend to resist the new changes at the work place. This is because employees believe that the work place changes can negatively affect their responsibilities. Furthermore, they hinder them from completing their planned tasks. This contradicts the employers’ views because they state that resistance to change negatively affects the productivity of an organization together with the customer services (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). Therefore, employers need to take the following procedures in ensuring that they conduct the new changes successfully. Initially, the human resource managers (HRM) in organizations should ensure that they involve all personnel in the change process, rather than the management team only. This is because managers propagate trust and understanding when they discuss issues with the personnel. This makes them accept the changes. The managers should also ensure that they encourage the workers who doubt the new changes for them to support and implement them. Secondly, organizations should also conduct teaching and learning methods to confront organizational employees who resist changes (Leonard, 2012). Teaching is imperative to the change agenda since it offers support and creates awareness amongst employees on the importance of changes and the tasks that personnel will play in the change process. Therefore, teaching acts as a counseling tool in every change process as it enables and encourages employees to adapt to the new changes.
The management team must ensure that they redefine their main aim of change as a means of overcoming resistance to change. To perform this successfully, they must involve other employees in the change process, offer feedbacks, listen, welcome other people’s view, and encourage employees by explaining to them that they are the owners of the new changes. The organizational managers should ensure that they break down the process and reconstruct it frequently. As such, when employees fail to understand the changes, reconstructing these changes will help the employees to understand the vision and future that it brings (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005). However, this will help every employee to see his role after change making him or her support the change. Fourth, for organizations to overcome resistance to change, they must ensure that they expand their circle of involvement by making the change process dynamic. This means that the top organizational managers should collaborate with other organizational staff members to agree on the intended changes. The managers need to treat other staffs with respect; hence, allowing them to contribute wholly towards the new changes. This is because lack of staff engagement in organizational changes makes employees not to support the process. After all, they consider the process as not institutional. Therefore, organizational managers need to build their trust with employees by showing them commitment and reliance (Palmer, 2004).
Communication is important in addressing resistance to change in any organization. As such, every manager needs to communicate to employees before coming up with any change in an organization. The managers can communicate with their employees by collecting information from the employees on how they perceive the new change and whether it influences their tasks and responsibilities. Consequently, after communicating with the employees on the change, the rate of resistance to change will be below. The feedbacks that employees offer on the change process will enable employees to support it rather than resist. Managers should ensure that the changes come with incentives to overcome resistance to change at their workplaces (Walker, 2011). The incentives will act as reasons, for employees to address the changes enabling them to support the change. These incentives might include bonuses, increase in salaries and other presents for the employees that support the changes. Furthermore, employees who hearten and motivate other employees to adapt to the new changes should be rewarded.
Implementing an open-door policy can help varied organizations in overcoming resistance to change. This is because some people prefer expressing their views alone rather than doing it while in a group forum. Therefore, when an organization has an open-door policy, it will enable employees to air their views in private setting because it allows them to open up on their feelings towards the new changes. Direct discussions between an employee and the manager will enable both teams to agree on how they can make the change easier for employees to manage. This process is important because it provides feedback, input, complaints, and allows the involvement of all personnel at the workplace. In addition, the employers should clarify to their employees that there is no choice regarding the intended change. This will reduce the resistance to change at workplaces (Leonard, 2012). Even though employees feel involved in the implementation of organizational change, the employers should make them understand that change is not a choice; therefore, employees must adapt to change. Marketing the new change to every department in an organization will reduce resistance to change since it will offer the involved individuals to understanding the importance of the change. Individuals who understand the aim of the plan will support it; hence, implementing it in their tasks and responsibilities. Organizations should create varied groups to act as change agents in encouraging and supporting planning and implementation process involved in the change process. This change agent group should entail both the management team and the non-management team (Leahy, 2003).
The organizations determined to address resistance to change must facilitate and support their employees by offering emotional and material help. This will enable people that experience problems pertaining to adaption of changes to adjust. Leaders who are appointed to conduct change will be instrumental in overcoming resistance to change at the work place. This is because the leaders in the change process will participate in the development of change principles and empowering employees. This will increase the total number of employees that will accept change. Finally, overcoming resistance at the work place is possible when employers present their proposed change. This is with the intention of building support, seeking questions or challenges regarding the change (Woods & West, 2010).
Organizations must ensure that they develop a vision and faith in their workplace before implementing organizational change. For the organization to conduct any changes successfully, it should ensure that it considers several things. The managers should also ensure that they build employee trust that will allow them to offer solutions to varying issues within an organization. The organizations should always be willing to support and allow employees to play major roles that increase the productivity of an organization (Walker, 2011). The managers should also understand that by involving employees in creating different organizational ideas, the workers are encouraged to work diligently to implement and refine the intended changes.
Leahy, R. L. (2003). Overcoming resistance in cognitive therapy.New York, NY: Guilford.
Leonard, E. C. (2012). Supervision: Concepts and practices of management. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Miller, W. R., &Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Palmer, B. (2004). Making change work: Practical tools for overcoming human resistance to change. Milwaukee, Wisc: ASQ Quality Press.
Schermerhorn, J.R., Hunt, J.G., & Osborn, R.N. (2005). Organizational Behavior (9th Ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Walker, R. (2011). Strategic business communication for leaders. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Woods, S. A., & West, M. A. (2010).The psychology of work and organizations. Andover, UK: South-Western Cengage Learning.