Our industry has undergone tremendous technology innovation over the recent past, all improving production and quality. However, often left behind are the employees and their concerns.

To start, managers and employees generally view change differently. Owners and top-level managers see change as an opportunity to strengthen the business. For many employees, however, including middle managers, change is neither expected nor welcomed. It is disruptive and intrusive. It upsets their life.

Top managers consistently misjudge the effect of change on their relationships with employees and on the effort required to win approval for change. To gain acceptance, managers at all levels must learn to see things differently; they must put themselves in their employees’ shoes to understand how change looks from their perspective.

I reviewed 12 articles relating to employee reactions to change, and there are many more, and tried to condense and simplify some main points to consider:

Fear of the unknown/surprise: This type of resistance occurs mainly when change is implemented without warning. How will it affect my job? Will I have a job?

Mistrust: This is individual and really a test of the type of relationship management has already established with employees.

Loss of job security: This may occur when management announces the company will be restructuring or downsizing because of technology or business conditions without adequate warning or involvement. The danger here is with the remaining employees.

Bad timing: As the old saying goes, “Timing is everything.” Too much change over a short period of time can cause resistance. If change is not implemented at the right time or with the right level of tact or empathy, it usually won’t work.

An individual’s predisposition toward change: This is huge. This may surprise you, but differences exist in people’s overall tolerance for change. I’m kidding of course, but don’t project your feelings on employees. Some people enjoy change because it provides them with an opportunity to learn new things and grow personally and professionally. Others resist change because they prefer a set routine – these are usually the people who become suspicious of change and are more likely to resist.

Prepare yourselves, for if we don’t change, we’ll cease to exist.


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