Home»Managing Resistance To Change In Strategic Environment
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2021|4.2 min read|

In an ever-expanding world, change adaptability is the only true agent of continued success. Executives who are aware of where the tide is turning call for change when they wish to see their company’s continue to flourish. However, encountering resistance to change in a strategic environment is nothing new.But what is change management and how does change management work?

Company owners and the people in charge may feel that managing resistance to change may be hard but effective leadership and change management increases the likelihood of a smooth transition from one state to another.

What is organizational change?

Organizational change refers to any major alterations that a company, non-profit or any type of organization may undergo. These may include changing the culture or core values of the organization, changing the way things are done, changing strategic direction. The changes also seep into the general working environment of the organisation, making it a pressing matter for employees and management alike.

Types of organizational change?

There are several types of changes that an organisation may go through, but there are three general types that cover almost all of those.

  • Planned, developmental and adaptive changes are those you make to improve current organisational processes. Examples include restructures, systems changes, building moves.
  • Transitional Change occurs when you replace existing processes and with new processes. Transitional change is generally more challenging to implement and can increase the levels of stakeholder discomfort.
  • Transformational changes are those an organisation makes to completely reshape strategy and processes. Often this impacts work culture and can become focussed cultural change. These types of changes can be a response to environmental and market changes. Transformational change can unearth a broad range of emotional responses in stakeholders, and needs to be very well managed. Especially in transformational and complex changes or multiple change concurrent programs there can be a mixture of change types in occurrence.

Managing Resistance To Change

Managing resistance to change in an organization may be hard to achieve, but with the right guidelines, company executives can ensure a smoother transition from one state to another.

While it is true that most people fear and resent change, others are open to the idea. One needs to establish a game plan to ensure that all employees are on board with the changes that a company undergoes before the changes occur.

How Employees Resist Change

While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the hands of the entire world and not just certain companies to adapt, some employees may fail to see the gravity of the impact on the organisation that provides their livelihood. Where employees have not successfully been educated or engaged resistance is often much higher. 

Some ways for employees to demonstrate resistance is by quitting, absenteeism or taking time off work unannounced, ignoring direction pertaining to the changes, and going on strike to bring back the previous state of working. It is a natural human instinct to dig our heels in when the accepted way of doing things is being challenged.

Tips to manage employee resistance to organizational changes

So, how do you manage resistance to organizational change in the workplace? Is a hard and fast rule needed to encompass everything or is there a more nuanced way to deal with everything? The following humanising tips may be useful if you are facing employees opposing organizational change

Be empathetic

Understand where employees are coming from. While several people may irrationally fear change, other people have genuine problems with the changes.

Be willing to make a compromise

While even meeting midway may be impossible, allow the employees flexibility to adjust to the change.

Establish clear measures for change

Make sure that all employees impacted by significant change have clear outcomes defined for their role. A common approach is to use cascading KPI’s or KRA’s from senior management right through to the ‘field’.

Explain what is in it for them.

Commonly known as Whats-In-It-For-Me (WIIFM), it is also good to recognise where change is difficult. People can see through “marketing” if all you are trying to do is sell the positives. Make sure you communicate in a non-confrontational manner. This will allow employees to understand their role in the context of change.

Find solutions to their problems

This will allow you to personally address concerns that may exist within the employee community and make sure that an agreement is reached.

Be willing to admit mistakes

Understand that company executives need to take into account human dynamics, inconveniences, and problems when introducing large-scale changes. Being appropriately vulnerable as a leader conveys authenticity.

Be real, be human

Overcoming resistance to change in business also includes working on your own self development as a leader.

Reinforce the change.

More than your words, your actions and investment change specific reinforcement strategies will foster a healthy environment for change to occur.

Who We Are? 

Change can be overwhelming – especially given today’s pandemic induced climate. Let the team at Unitive help you lead the way to a smoother transition or sustainable transformation.

To find out more contact us today. 

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