Changes in technology, economy, trend and the business environment have resulted in operational change in the organization. The management is forced to implement the changes whether they like it or not.  When we consider organizational change, it is often necessary to adapt a few positive changes to keep pace with the developments in the market and constantly evolving world.

So how do we define organizational change?

When an organization re-evaluates its method of operations in order to cater the changing demands of the market and to survive the competition is known as organizational change.

Unfortunately, not all employees express positive response to change in the organization. Employee resistance to organizational change is a natural behavior as it requires new ways of thinking and doing work. Organizational change tends to bring a sense of uncertainty and fear of not knowing how life will look like after the change is implemented. Given that we live in an evolving world, one would think that the employees will be aware of it and soon get accustomed to the change in the organization. But the truth is quite opposite to it.


The following 10 reasons best describe why employees resist change in the organization.

1. Mind set: Majority of the employees who take their work and work place only as source of income would want to have a simplified job format. When the organizations possess some change in the operation, what immediately comes to the employees mind is, "will the change simplify/complicate their work?"

2. Change of routine: When employees are habituated in following a routine, they would not like any changes as it might ask them to step out of their comfort zone.

3. Lack of knowledge/expertise: Employees may resist change simply because they lack sufficient knowledge about the change taking place in the organization or lack of expertise. Not knowing much about the specifics of the change, they imagine it to be difficult to deal with and therefore, they resist giving the change a chance.

4. Workload: Change in organization would initially be hard for employees as it would take time for them to understand. Consequently, the processing of the change makes them feel loaded with work which is why they resist change.

5. Unwilling to learn: Some employees feel that their work does not need any advancement and therefore are unwilling to learn something new and are hesitant to change.

6. No change in compensation: Compensation is one of the main factors that make employees perform better. If they feel that the change in operations would not make any good difference on their pay-slip, then they abide the change in organization.

7. Fear: Fear could be of not knowing much about the imposed change, losing their position and if the change will bring improvement or not. At the hand of fear, they fail to realize that the change is needed for the organization to stay competitive. Thus, they resist change as they are satisfied with the present workflow.

8. Peer Pressure: Some employees blindly follow their colleagues/team mates without even knowing if the change would affect them or not.

9. Loss of freedom: Employees grooved to certain level of personal freedom at workplace would not want to let go of that.

10Past experience: Few bad experiences from their ex organization would spring into action when there is a change in the organization and apparently they resist it.

Dealing with employee resistance to organizational change is tricky and challenging as the employee behavior cannot be anticipated. But once the initiated change gets rooted, the employee resistance to organizational change fades.

Let us take a look at the top 5 ways to handle employee resistance

1. Plan the change: Have a clear change plan in hand even before introducing it to the employees. Take help of a core team to design and implement the change. Predict the employee behavior and natural resistance that might occur. Have a well set strategy ready to confront it.

2. Take one step at a time: The organizational change could be huge, but never announce as it is to the employees. Big announcements of change alert the employees to resist. Therefore, it has to be opened quietly one after the other. This allows the employees to accept the change without resisting to it.

3. Let your plan come out as the employees' idea: When you know what changes are to be introduced, hold a meeting. Well, the meeting will not be to project the changes, but to discuss the scenario. Put forth the current state of the organization before the employees. Give them cues that will lead them to suggest ideas that exactly match your already planned changes. This is an easy way; however this strategy is unlikely to work always.

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4. Tap on the right switch: Employees would never resist without a reason, and the reasons could be plenty. Therefore, stabilize your relationship with these employees by listening to them with endurance. Know the exact reason of their resistance and tackle it respectively. If this includes any kind of assurances, then make sure you keep up your words.

5. Pick the hard way: If you think that your employees would never allow you take charge on the changes required to the organization, then the last option would be to take the hard curve. Have the changes introduced in terms of laws and regulations so that the employees have no option to resist but to accept it.