Organisational change is never easy, even when it has the full support of staff. Most businesses that engage in organizational change have to deal with staff resistance to the changes. Some leaders react to that change with shrugged shoulders. They say, ‘people don’t like change’ and continue to push the changes anyway. But there is more to it than that. People resist change for clear, direct reasons. Here are 5 of the top reasons people will try to avoid, resist, or even sabotage organisational change.


    1.     Job Security or Loss of Status: Concerns about job security are the primary cause for resistance to organisational change. People will not change easily if they believe that change might harm their current situation. Even if the change is purely administrative or involves changes to technology, people will worry that it may reduce or eliminate their position. It’s important to implement an open change strategy that demonstrates how each employee’s role will increase or be augmented by the change.
    2.     Fear of Failure: If employees don’t believe that organisation will succeed in implementing the change, they will not want to be involved. Employees must be assured that a clear plan for change is in place, and the company is taking every step necessary to ensure that change is a success.
    3.     Surprise and Fear of the Unknown: Change communication is critical to eliminating this fear. Two-way communication, including employee feedback will reduce the chance of surprise or negative reaction. People tend to focus more on the potential negative outcomes rather than the positive ones. You should make every effort to eliminate or reduce the unknown quantities.
    4.     An Environment that Lacks Trust: Employees must have faith in the organisation and believe that the company has their best interests in mind. If management has done something in the past to loose or diminish employee trust, it will be difficult to get employees on-board with organisational change. Open, honest communication can help to rebuild trust and decrease this risk.
    5.     Organisational Politics: In some cases, employees will resist change just to prove a point. If an employee has some underlying issue with the person or group driving the change, that employee will want to see it fail. Personal issues and organisational politics can trigger a desire to undermine the process and put change leaders in a bad light.


People don’t like change, but that doesn’t mean they will never support it. Organisational change will be more successful if leaders take the steps necessary to identify areas of potential resistance and ensure that all employees are on-board. Learn more about making change a success in 5 Reasons Why Organisational Change Fails.


If you’re generally interested in taking a proactive approach to improving the flow of communication within your company, also take a look at the benefits of 360 degree feedback in our free whitepaper.


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