How can HR help employees overcome resistance to change?

One of the major problems organizations face is the resistance to change on the part of its management or its employees. We have heard all too often that the only constant in business is change. So, why are some organizations reluctant to change? The main reason for management’s resistance to change is that they don’t anticipate the gravity of the change that they need to adapt and its impact on the business.

On the side of the employees, the reason they refuse to change is that it will require them to emerge out of what they consider their ‘comfort zone’. This means having to learn and unlearn what they have been doing, or are comfortable with. They have to give up some old habits and inculcate new ones, which invariably leads to some discomfort, to which they could be averse.

HR’s role

When change becomes inevitable and unavoidable, its nature and gravity has to be communicated to the employees. This is what HR has to do. Although assessing and undertaking the change is management’s job; HR has to be the medium through which it has to be made known to the employees, down to the level at which the change is to be implemented.

How does HR do this?

HR, being the facilitator and communicator for the organization, has to take the employees into confidence. Here, positive communication is the key. HR has to convincingly and meaningfully explain to the staff why this change is happening and what this change means to them.

It needs to start off by explaining the need or circumstance for the change. It then has to explain to the different levels what the changed situation will mean to them in terms of responsibility and change in working style. It has to all along convince the staff that this change is for their own good, and that in order to make a person healthier, an occasional bitter pill may be necessary. It has to be patient in explaining and clarifying. If it loses patience, this is not going to go down well with the employees.

HR needs to do some handholding

HR has to be there to train and coach and assist employees embrace and implement change. It has to keep monitoring the level of progress each employee is making in terms of adapting to the post-change style or process.

If every method fails, meaning that some employees are loath to changing even after they have been given all the opportunities, HR will have no option but to force it upon some very laggard employees. Here too, it needs to resort to this only as a last resort. Finally, it has to pack the employee off, when nothing else seems to work and the particular employee’s resistance to change is detrimental to the organization’s growth.

Reference:

http://www.explorehr.org/articles/Organization_Analysis/Overcoming_Resistance_to_Change.html

 

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