All on Board – Minimising Staff Resistance to Changes

employeesEntrepreneurs are known for their great ideas, and quite often that is the key to their success. Many business owners are keen to make changes to the way their enterprises are run, being passionate about the growth and development of the business and keen to see it succeed.

However, as good as an innovative idea may be, it can only be effective if members of staff are willing to implement it correctly. If you’re having trouble with staff resistance to changes in your business, here are some strategies to overcome this all-too-common challenge:

Understanding Staff Resistance

Why do members of staff sometimes resist ideas that are meant to make the business they work for more successful? As an entrepreneur, you may think that this defies logic – surely a staff member would like to be part of a successful and dynamic company and share in its success. To discover the answer to this question, it’s useful to understand why people tend to resist change:

Fear of the Unknown

Many people are naturally cautious and don’t like sudden changes – this may be due to personality, family background, or other reasons. Whatever the cause, many staff members are scared of change and may resist it as a knee-jerk reaction

Worries about Job Security

Staff members are often concerned that their jobs may be at risk if the business makes certain changes. This fear is understandable, and the ability of entrepreneurs to communicate with their staff will go a long way to calming these feelings of insecurity.

Lack of Trust

If the changes you are planning to make involve restructuring the business or replacing key members of management, staff members may feel a lack of trust toward the newcomers, having built up a trusting relationship with their previous colleagues or superiors. This mistrust must be prevented from the outset, because members of staff may resort to insubordination or develop a resentful attitude toward new figures of authority in your business as a way of expressing their lack of trust.

A Strategy for Implementing Changes

Next time you make changes in your business, here are some steps you can take to ensure that your staff members are on board from the outset:

  • Keep them in the loop – discuss your proposed changes with your staff members, emphasising the reason for making these changes and the benefits to the business and its staff once the changes are implemented.
  • Listen to any objections – if your members of staff are vocal about their objections to the new changes, take it as a compliment. Your staff trusts you enough to be open with you, and it may be possible to make the changes you need without creating any tension between you and the staff.
  • Give them time to adjust – once your changes have been finalised, give your staff enough time to get used to the new way of doing things. If necessary, a training course or team building exercise may be necessary to ensure their full co-operation
  • Share the benefits – if the changes you have made result in great things for your business, and if your staff members have responded positively throughout the process, show them your appreciation with an incentive. From a staff lunch to an annual bonus, this gesture will prove to them that the changes were for the best, and should ensure their co-operation in the future.

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