Bringing about change in a business

managing-change-staff-resistanceMaking changes to the way a business operates from time to time is essential for every entrepreneur. As the economy changes and competitors change their strategies, your business will need to change in order to stay competitive and continue its growth and profitability.

Bringing about change in your business may be easy on paper – it’s not difficult to sit down and think of ways to make any company more efficient – but implementing those changes may not be as simple as you think. There are several reasons for this difficulty, including the need to invest in new equipment, skills shortages in your company, or a staff that resists change.

Of all these causes, the last one is probably the most difficult to overcome, but without a co-operative staff your chances of making any kind of change are not good at all. How can you convince your employees to work with you and not against you when you change the way your business operates? Here are some strategies for combating staff resistance.

Why staff resistance is costly for any business

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve probably picked up on some worrying trends in the running of your business. Whether your operating costs are too high or you seem to keep hiring staff only to find that tasks remain unfinished, something will have to change in order for your business to make a profit and grow sustainably.

Staff resistance usually comes about because employees are used to doing their jobs a certain way and are either unwilling or unable to change their ways overnight. Unfortunately, if staff inefficiency is the root of your company’s problem you won’t see an improvement in your profits until your staff learns to adapt. No matter what other measures you take, staff members that resist change will just reinforce the inefficiencies in your business instead of making your company more efficient and competitive.

What causes staff resistance and how can it be solved?

In most cases, staff members are used to doing things a certain way and are either scared of change or don’t see the point of doing things differently. While many employers react to staff resistance by pulling rank and ordering employees to “change or else”, this approach may lead to even more stubbornness and resistance instead of solving the problem.

Before you implement changes in your business, meet with your staff and discuss the following with them:

  • What changes are being made – detail exactly what you’d like your staff to do differently
  • Why the changes are necessary – explain why it’s in the company’s best interest to make the changes.
  • How the changes will be made – tell your staff how they will be involved in the changes, asking them to get on board and contribute to the company’s success
  • Give your staff an incentive to change – a more successful business can provide stable employment for its staff and offer them better working conditions, provided that they co-operate with the process of change.

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