7 Ways for HR Managers to Overcome Resistance to Change

7 Ways for HR Managers to Overcome Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is the unwillingness of employees to accept a change that is being implemented such as the installation of new machines or the creation of a new policy and it is one of the most common issues HR managers will come across.


The first thing any HR manager needs to do is recognize the reasons for the resistance to change. Employees can resist change for many reasons including fear of the unknown, lack of trust in management or even poor timing for the implementation of the change.


After pinpointing the reason behind the employees’ unwillingness to accept the change, here are 7 ways HR managers can use to overcome resistance to change.


  1. Implement change over several stages.

Sudden change is rarely ever welcome (unless it’s a surprise Christmas bonus). Applying the change gradually over several stages can help soften the blow and allow people to accept and understand the impact of the change on their jobs.


  1. Resolve any conflict quickly and be supportive

During periods of change, people may be stressed or anxious. Therefore, frequent team meetings can help in reducing the tension and anxiety and can even help employees bond.


  1. Communicate the change

Explain to people what is going on and what is going to change. Use different methods to explain the change – both formal and informal – to ensure the news reaches every employee. 


  1. Keep employees engaged

Listen to what your team has to say. Their feedback reflects how they feel about the change and whether it is effective or not. Asking them questions like “how can we make things better?” or “are the changes that have been implemented working?” will help you understand the issues and work out solutions.


  1. Be positive and persuasive

Persuade and encourage change through positivity. A positive environment with affirmations about change will help employees associate change with positivity, whereas persuading, as opposed to asserting authority forcibly, will bring about a better result.





  1. Negotiate

When all else fails, negotiate. This is the most convenient way to avoid resistance to change. Simply offer something in exchange for reducing the resistance. 


  1. Set a culture of acceptance of change

Give the responsibility of overseeing change to others. By delegating the management of change, you are giving employees a chance to become role models for others. This in return will cause a “ripple effect”, causing other employees to aspire to be like these role models.