How to deal with resistance to change

December 27, 2017

Portrait of successful young businesswoman speaking in front of audience at conference, making presentation to colleagues

Some employees embrace change. They can see the potential for improvement in any plan, and they actively work toward implementation. However, every organization has a few individuals who resist change and voice their objection. As a manager, how do you minimize change resistance so you can move forward with your improvement plans?


Early Communication

Once rumors start spreading, you’re going to have trouble. People tend to blow things up in their minds so they become resistant to whatever plans you have—even if they don’t really understand your true plans. After you make a decision, announce it to everyone so every employee has all the facts. Also, people need time to adjust to the concept of change. Give them several weeks’ notice before making any major changes.


Include Resistors

You probably already know the people who are more inclined to resist change. Get them on your side first. Have them be a proactive part of the team and let them engage in the process. This is a good way to turn your staunchest resistors into your biggest assets.


Give Proper Explanations

People are much more willing to go along with change if they understand why it’s happening and how it will benefit them. Employees tend to put a wall up if it sounds like change is happening for no real reason. Not only should you properly explain why you are making your change, be consistent with your explanation. This is an old PR trick called “message management,” but it works. Keep explanations brief, so employees can easily understand them.


Be honest with your employees about why change is happening, when it will happen, and how it will affect them in both positive and negative ways.



Your employees will also put up resistance if they feel their needs and concerns are not being addressed. Listen to your workers and honestly try to accommodate their concerns where you can. This will go a long way toward winning them over.


Monitor progress

Keep your ear to the ground and listen for any rumors that may be swirling that can derail your change process and find ways to deal with them. Hold meetings to dispel these rumors, or to incorporate updates if the concerns are valid. Keep open lines of communication throughout the process, and try conducting surveys along the way.


Remember, rumors will start the minute you voice that you are even considering a plan for change. The longer these rumors hang around unaddressed, the more likely they are to fester and foster resistance. Start communicating and building your change team right away to minimize resistance and build positive energy.


For more information on managing your workplace environment, contact Vanguard Resources.