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Getting Employees Past Obstacles to Change

Obstacles to change exist at both the organizational and individual level. In this article, we’ll focus on individual obstacles to change and how to help employees get past those obstacles.

Obstacles to change from the individual perspective include:

  • Fear of the impact of change on the individual and his role and responsibilities
  • Fear of losing control
  • Insufficient information about the change and why it needs to occur
  • Disruption in the employee’s daily routine
  • A “we have always done it this way” mentality
  • Viewing the change as inconvenient given what else is going on in the employee’s personal life or in the workplace
  • Fear of job loss or being demoted
  • Feeling unskilled or having insufficient knowledge to work with the change

Obstacles to change are best overcome through acknowledge the obstacles exist and through sufficient communications early on and throughout the change management initiative.

Consider the following best practices to help employees get past their personal obstacles to change:

  • Discuss benefits of the change initiative from the perspective of the individual
  • Promote the ability to learn new skills and increase knowledge
  • Ensure that training is provided to help employees manage within the change
  • Promote the excitement of something new
  • Show how the change will personally benefit the individual who is resisting change
  • Ensure understanding of the change
  • Highlight individuals who are already working with the change in some way
  • Ensure that those who are impacted by the change are involved in defining the change and implementing the change

If resistance still exists, ask employees, in small groups or in one-on-one conversations the following questions to get them talking about the change:

  • What do you believe will or will not work with the change initiative?
  • How would you proceed with the change initiative if you were leading it?
  • What information would help you to better understand the change and alleviate your concerns around the change?
  • What does success look like to you?

Provide regular communications to resisters to the change initiative. Get them involved by soliciting their opinions and suggestions and asking for their feedback on the change.

Do you need to launch a significant change initiative in your organization? Contact Gina Abudi today to learn more about our workshops and consulting around leading change and supporting change to help both leaders and individual contributors be successful in implementing change in the organization.

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