A List of Strategies to Decrease Resistance to Change in the Workplace

Play up the positive aspects of change.

Play up the positive aspects of change.

While change can be a good thing, not all of your employees will agree. Staffers who are used to doing things the same way and are hesitant to consider new options can be tough sells when it comes to implementing new processes or procedures. Try bringing them in on the process to get buy-in and make transitions smoother.

Talk About Change

When change sneaks up on people, they're more likely to resist it. Give advance warning about new things coming online and give everyone a chance to get used to them. Hold information sessions, put out a FAQ sheet and encourage employees to talk to you about their concerns. Sometimes, the unknown is what drives resistance, and if staffers know what to expect, they're more likely to be OK with it.

Make Introductions Slowly

While change is sometimes quick or unexpected, if you have any control over timing, take it slow. Don't walk into the office one day and tell your employees you're launching a new product line, reconfiguring the office, changing work schedules and renaming your company. That’s simply too much information for some people to digest at once. Even if you're making massive overhauls and changes, introduce them gradually and give people a chance to get used to new ideas.

Explain Reasons for Change

Sometimes, people do better accepting change when they understand the need for it. Explain to your staffers why you're doing things differently and ask for their support. For example, if you're moving to a new phone system to help speed efficiency, explain all the perks and benefits that come with the new system, like easier transfers, fast access to voicemail, and the ability to forward messages and streamline customer service. Once employees see what's in it for them, they're more likely to embrace the change.

Involve Employees

One of the best ways to get people excited about change is to make them part of the process. Invite employees to be involved with strategic planning, where appropriate, and ask for their input about new ideas and processes. This helps staffers feel like they're involved in the positive aspects of the change rather than having things forced upon them. Involvement can also build morale and solidarity in the workplace, which can increase productivity.

Ask for Feedback

Any time the workplace changes significantly, there are always a few bugs to be worked out of the new systems. Encourage employees to give you feedback and help you find ways to fine-tune processes and procedures so they benefit everyone. This also helps employees feel like they have some control over the situation and that you value their input.

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About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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