Why do people resist change in the workplace?

The world is constantly evolving and organizations need to transform to keep up with that pace of change. When the pace of change outside an organization gets faster than the pace of change inside an organization; most organizations go extinct. Therefore, change, reinvention and transformation are all part of the new normal today. For those organizations that want to stay relevant in a market place, they must equip their employees to change before they have to.

Employees are people and it's normal for them to resist change. Most people prefer predictability and stability over something unknown or unfamiliar.

Here are the ten reasons why employees resist change.

# Loss of Job security or control:

This is a major reason why employees resist change. Familiar routines help employees develop a sense of control over their work environment.

In an organizational setting, any process, technological advancement, systems, or product change will include streamlining, working smarter, downsizing, cost reduction, efficiency, faster turn around times etc. This causes fear among employees that they will lose their jobs or be moved into other positions without their input or consent.

# Shock and Fear of the Unknown:

People will only take active steps towards the unknown if they genuinely believe – and perhaps more importantly, feel – that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward in a new direction. This type of resistance occurs mainly when change is implemented without warning the affected stakeholders before the change occurs. The less your team members know about the change and its impact on them, the more fearful they will become.

# Lack of Competence:

This is a fear that is difficult for employees to admit openly and they seldom admit. Change compels people to behave in a certain way, follow new processes or to learn new skills. Some people become very anxious and suspect their competency and thus resist change.

# Poor Timing:

As the old saying goes, “Timing is everything”. Heaping too much change on employees over a short period of time can cause resistance. Undue resistance can occur because changes are introduced in an insensitive manner or at an awkward time.

# Lack of Reward:

Employees will resist change when they do not see anything in it for them in terms of rewards. Without ‘what’s in it for me’ or a reward, there is no motivation to support the change over the long run.

# Office Politics:

Every organization has its own share of in-house politics. When there is a divide in the management structure that in turn leads to a commitment gap. Some resist change as a political strategy to “prove” that the decision is wrong or the person leading change can’t pull it off.  Others may resist because they think they will lose some power in the organizational structure.

# Loss of Support System:

Most employees already work in their comfort zones with the supervisors and managers they get along with and they follow a predictable routine everyday at work.  They resist change because they fear that they will lose their support system that they are comfortable with.

# Former Change Experience:

Our attitudes about change are partly determined by the way we have experienced change in the past. If employees have experienced poor change management exercises, they tend to fear and resist it even more.

# Lack of trust and support:

Successful organizational change does not occur in a climate of mistrust. 

Trust, involves faith in the intentions and behavior of others. If the intentions are not clear and if the reasons for change are not articulated well, then employees will fear that they are being part of plotting conspiracy than a proposition for progress.

Even if there are oppositions, people also know for a fact that there is no progress without change. People are willing to change if the promise of the future is better than the realities of the present.

Paul Robinson's is India's leading keynote speaker and business strategist. He conducts keynote and workshops to facilitate organisations to navigate change effectively. To know more please visit www.paulrobinson.in

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