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Resistance to Change in the Workplace: How to Deal


Do you know why employees resist change in the workplace? Have you any idea on what is resistance, how you can resist, overcome and get past them? If not, then explore these reasons, tips and ideas for resistance to change in the workplace that will certainly help you today.

Unfortunately, employees around the world will not be happy about any change at work. But if you know how to deal with workplace change, the problem can still be solved and changes at work can be handled in a much better way. Keep reading this post to find and learn more.

resistance change in workplace

Image source: savilearning

Main Reasons for Resistance to Change in the Workplace:

Here are some of the biggest reasons why people resist to change in the workplace! Keep reading to find out more.

1. Loss of jobs:

Loss of jobs is the biggest reasons why so many employees end up resisting change. When an organization is going through a major change, there will be a significant transformation in the products and technological advancement. Working smarter, reduction of cost and efficiency will be noticed even more.

All of this could mean that all staff and managers will surely resist all changes that could result in all roles being reduced. If you look at it in this way, the change at work could harm your position. The satisfaction that most employees have concerning their jobs has a lot to do with change and how people deal with it.

2. Poor strategy of communication:

Having poor strategy of communication is the second reason of employee resistance to change. The process in which any changes are communicated to the employees within the organization is an important factor in understanding their reactions.

If you are not able to communicate on how success may look like and how it can be measured, then it would be right to expect resistance. If employees don’t get why the change is needed, then why should you ask for a purchase?

3. Lack of control:

What you must always remember about work is that having similar routines will help all your employees have a better sense of control on the work they are doing. By asking your workers to stop working the way they do could make them feel confused and powerless.

People will begin to understand and implement the changes when they begin to feel they do have some kind of control. What you should in cases like these is, keep all doors of communication open, help your employees and support them and let them participate and volunteer in the changes.

4. Offering less rewards:

Organizational employees are not happy when they don’t receive any reward. In fact they will resist change when they do not see anything in terms of rewards.

Without WIIFM, there is literally no motivation to support the change over the long run. This could also mean that the system of organizational reward could be altered in order to support the changes that the management would like them to implement. Rewards don’t always have to be very exorbitant or expensive.

5. Lack of support:

Employees who are already inside their comfort zones and are enjoying the time they are working with managers and getting along with them might help in backing up during difficult times.

Expecting a change in the organizational structures will shake their confidence in the system of support. They could end up feeling anxious about working under a new manager, in a fresh team or even on projects that are not familiar because they worry that if they end up failing, there shall be nobody to show any support towards them.

6. Peer pressure:

It doesn’t matter if you are reserved or outspoken, at the end of the day you all are social animals. Organizational stakeholders might resist change in order to protect the interests of a certain group, team members as well as colleagues.

It is quite normal for the employees to resist a few changes in order to protect the workers. This might be because they do empathize with their pals since the change has influenced all of them. Managers too might try to resist change in order to protect the groups they work with or even their friends. All of this could sabotage the success.

7. Politics in office:

In every organization, there will be some in house politics. Therefore there will be some employees who will resist change as a part of a political strategy in order to prove or show that the decision of change is not right.

They could also resist showing that the one who is following up with the changes has not matched the standard. These employees work towards seeing the efforts of change as failed.

Dealing with Resistance to Change in the Workplace

If you are worried about managing resistance in the workplace, here are a few points in brief that should definitely help you in some way or the other. Also, implement every point in order to handle resistance to change in an organization or your workplace

1. Having a strong sense of understanding:

You should always try to understand why people are resisting the change. Some of the reasons could include believing that the change is unnecessary and could ruin things instead of improving them. Second, they have no faith in people who are leading this whole process of change. Third, they do not appreciate the way in which these changes were introduced.

They don’t feel very confident about the changes. They also feel that this could mean personal loss, of money, status, friends and of security. They have already experienced a whole lot of change and can’t handle disruption any further.

2. To encourage:

A second thing you need to do in order to resist changes in the workplace is simply encourage the employees to openly express their ideas and thoughts or feelings about the changes they feel should be implemented in the programs.

Make sure that you are communicating with your people on a regular basis so that they are free enough to speak to you when there is a doubt in mind. Encouraging is highly important. It will help in resisting change and let your workplace become a more comfortable and peaceful environment to work in.

3. Keep your ears open:

You should also listen to all concerns carefully, explore the fears and take all comments very seriously. Since you have to keep your employees happy so that they feel comfortable in the environment they are working in, do not ever forget to keep your ears open.

Make sure you are taking down all the details and paying close attention to what your workers have to say about the current plans and the changes that need to be made. Also listening to your employees concerns will make them feel like you care about them genuinely. They would be able to trust you better and speak their minds at ease.

4. Keep them engaged:

You should engage your workers in the process of planning and implementation. Make sure they have been assigned to work on a regular basis so that they are busy with themselves.

There should be enough and good planning so that the resistance to change can be handled and taken care of easily. If you need, get your workers enough training so that they feel comfortable.

5. Help:

You may also help your workers find new roles either inside the group or somewhere else in the organization. By this, we simply mean those roles which are about genuine contributions and ones that help in understanding the losses. Make sure that nobody is sitting idle.

Check whether people have work to do. If someone doesn’t, give them something that may suit them accordingly. These ideas can definitely help you manage resistance to change in some way or the other in any working environment.

Overcoming Resistance to Change in the Workplace:

Overcoming resistance to change in the workplace is also easy if you know how to go about it. In this section, we are going to teach you ways in which you can overcome resistance to change in your workplace. Read carefully before implementing.

1. Understand where the problem is:

What is one of the most important signs that your employees are resisting change? Getting criticism is not a very subtle sign but they are also on the lookout for more indicators of resistance which are rearing its head.

If you see that your team members have finally decided to jump the bandwagon too fast, it could be a good sign that they are quite interested in cooperation or maybe that they are not entirely appreciative of what they are agreeing to. Always know that saying yes easily could turn into a hard-fought battle in order to get results!

2. Understand why are your workers resisting:

A second thing you should do is understand why exactly have your workers been resisting or what are their reasons for resisting to change. Usually, it’s because they don’t like a particular thing, they are not getting a particular thing or maybe they just don’t like you at all.

Whenever there is a change, a project or even a new initiative that cannot seem to get off the ground, it could seem that any team will make any of the outlooks that have been given above. So keep this in mind before finding the reason.

3. See the progress:

In order to evaluate the progress, you could have regular meetings that may offer insight. In case your team makes progress, it will help you understand that the charge has taken some root. Having good attendance on a regular basis is a proper barometer.

If you see a spotty participation just in case, you could try to spot the reason for resistance again. Finally, you have to pay close attention to pronouns and its usage. When people begin taking ownership, the language begins to change and the conversations will feature a few new examples of you.

Reducing Resistance to Change in the Workplace:

Finally, here are some points that can help you reduce the workplace resistance of change at work. Continue reading to find out!

Take care of the personal concerns first of all:

The first thing you have to do is take care of the personal concerns. This you can do by telling your employees all the things that change will help the organization. Since you are a change agent, you must also deal with the persona concerns of all the users first and then take care of all the organizational benefits.

It is highly important to understand what your workers are all about what exactly do they need to keep the workers happy. That is something that can help in reducing the resistance to change in the workplace.

Look into your worker’s desire in order to avoid losses:

People are always worried about loss instead of gain. Negativity is something that keeps all humans alive throughout the period of development as species do. However, it is far more important to keep away from stepping on a snake instead of looking for a soft space so that you can sleep.

Humans have advanced a lot in the past few years but scary things always grab more attention and tend to last longer than things that don’t. Therefore, instead of simply telling people what they could gain from any change, you could have a bigger impact by what they could lose if they don’t accept the changes.


This brings the post to an end. After reading this, we hope you have understood why employees resist change in the workplace, how you can resist and overcome this and how you can handle stress and other changes at work.

If you have liked reading the post and found some help from it, do give us some feedback in the comment box below. We would love to hear from you. Also if you have questions regarding the post, let us know on that as well.