Resistance to Change in Organisations is not inevitable, but how to avoid it?

If you can identify the various forms of resistance, and the underlying causes for it, you can target it and reduce it much more effectively. Here is how.

Change resistance

It’s widely accepted that when it comes to accepting change we humans aren’t keen. We’re creatures of habit. Our survival instincts demand that the degree of insecurity in our lives is limited and manageable. Reducing feelings of insecurity and threat during organisational shifts should then be a key concern for change managers.

The main barriers to change

Psychology suggests that the reasons for resistance to change within organisations can be many and varied. The three most common types you will encounter are likely to be:

  1. It feels risky: jobs may be going, new ones are unfamiliar. Attachment and denial can be factors for individuals. If a whole group feels at risk you may encounter a swell of cultural resistance.
  2. Information overload:there is simply too much to process, and so little time allowed for doing that in.
  3. Misunderstanding resulting from a lack of, or poor communication with employees.

If you can identify the various forms of resistance, and the underlying causes for it, you can target it and reduce it much more effectively.

And, what can you do to reduce resistance to change?

A 2020 survey of over 16,000 employees by Deloitte found that employee recognition was vital for engaging staff in anything. Though three quarters of those surveyed said a little recognition, a thank-you, a chat, made them feel engaged, only a third of respondents felt that they received that attention. So first off:

  • DON’T – just ‘announce’, engage

You risk provoking very negative emotional reactions in staff if you merely ‘announce changes’; both self-worth and security are tied up in our attitudes to our work.

  • DO – Talk

Make time to communicate changes well, empathise with the various affects these will have on each member of staff, talk to them, monitor progress and check-in often.

  • DON’T use just one ‘training’ session

This is just announcing, disguised as engagement. A good manager acknowledges that adaptation to anything is a process.

  • DO – employ continuous learning practices

Invoke curiosity about new opportunities and develop a good blended learning strategy to make uptake of new knowledge easier and more effective. Creating a culture of continuous learning will encourage acceptance of change by reducing fear of it.

How can digital learning help?

Levels of resistance will vary between staff members, depending on factors like age, time employed, skills level etc.. As the Deloitte survey shows being available to staff, intense though that can be, is vital. Using a digital learning platform like MobieTrain can help you to:

  • Keep it personal: you can increase engagement and aid individual adaptation by creating a personal learning path for each employee.
  • Monitor: then use the data dashboard to glean insights to discuss with them and together set new achievable goals.
  • Reduce fear of change: most importantly our tools help you make any training more fun and enjoyable! Use games, quizzes and microlearning to maintain engagement. Engagement increases acceptance and acceptance reduces fear and insecurity.

Want to try digital learning as part of your change management strategy. Give us a call to discuss!