How to Overcome Resistance to Change in the Workplace

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Workplace change can be tough, particularly if it is dramatic. Employees generally resist change if it affects the core job responsibilities or the way in which they complete tasks. As an employer, it can greatly affect production or customer service if your employees resist change. Avoid resistance by opening the lines of communication and listening to your employees' feedback regarding the change. Even if things cannot return to the way they were before, they may feel a greater satisfaction in knowing their concerns were heard.

Communicate with employees before the change takes place. Take input from everyone on how they feel about the impending change and how it may affect their current tasks and responsibilities. If they know it's coming, they may be less resistant to change once it happens. The more feedback they have on the process, the more they will own the change instead of shy away from it.

Establish incentives surrounding the change. If employees are given a reason to accept the change and deal with it, they may be more inclined to at least make an effort. Plan contests, bonuses and other prizes for the employees that work the changes the best or help other employees through the change to motivate them to work within new guidelines.

Maintain an open-door policy. Perhaps employees aren't comfortable expressing their issues with the change in a group forum. If you have an open-door policy, they can then air those grievances in a private setting, where they are more likely to open up about how they feel about the changes. The one-on-one environment then also allows the employee and his supervisor to discuss ways to make the change easier to manage.

Make it clear that there is no choice regarding the change. While you want employees to feel as though their voices are heard and for them to have input on the changes, the bottom line is that the change is not a choice. And in the end, as the employer, you have to make it clear that the employees must adapt or consider that they may no longer be suited for a position with your company.

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