Change is never easy. In fact, humans are wired to resist it. A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found the longer people think something has been around, the more they trust it. But in business, change is necessary for survival, and companies that resist change for too long will be left in the dust.
Unfortunately, not every employee in an organization will be committed to change. In fact, many employees legitimately hate changes to their environment and will respond negatively every time.
How can you simultaneously manage employees who don’t want to change and get them excited to move forward with your workplace transformation? Here are a few ideas.
1. Be up-front about the reason for the change.
When employees get wind of impending change, rumors can start to swirl. If not addressed, these rumors can cultivate an environment of uncertainty and, in turn, damage employee morale.
To prevent (or reduce) half-truths and untruths from spreading, you should clearly communicate with the entire workforce the need for change. Explain how the decision came about, what problem the business is trying to solve and the options that were considered. Be transparent as possible from the get-go.
2. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the change.
Getting employee buy-in starts from the top down. If management doesn’t appear to be 100 percent dedicated to the change, employees at every level will see this hesitation and will express resistance to change, too.
Don’t just tell them why you’re excited about the change — show them. Actions speak louder than words, so it will be easier to win support if you appear legitimately excited about how the change will benefit employees and the workplace.
If you commit to becoming an expert on each part of the process, you can confidently answer employees’ questions and help employees feel more confident about the success of the project as well.
3. Over-communicate throughout the process.
Whether the change being implemented will be completed quickly or require more time, it’s important to keep the workforce (especially change-averse employees) in the loop along the way.
After you’ve mapped out the milestones and process for implementing the change, make the information available internally. Share frequent updates about progress, including what has been successful and what needs to be improved. Nurturing this kind of authenticity and transparency encourages your staff to trust their employer and have confidence the company has their best interests in mind.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change.”
Even if your business is making difficult changes, you'll be more likely to gain employee support and make the process go more smoothly by being open, honest and sincere throughout the process.