You’re ready to make important changes in your business but you’re not sure how to get your employees on board. Whether you’re overhauling existing team structures, implementing new software, expanding or redirecting services in a new direction, or adjusting workflows, it can be difficult to get sustainable value out of a major business change if your employees haven’t fully bought in. According to McKinsey, “70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. We also know that when people are truly invested in change it is 30 percent more likely to stick.”
It’s human nature—we’re all resistant to change. Your employees might push back or voice concerns about how the changes you’re hoping to implement will affect their day-to-day responsibilities and the future of the company. As a business owner, it’s important to address these challenges head-on and take steps to ensure your employees are engaged and excited about the changes you are making. When employees are on board and excited, it leads to a smoother transition and a more positive work environment, and it benefits your bottom line. To do this well, you need to understand why employees are resistant to change.
Reasons why employees resist change
1. Information deficits or information overload
You know why you’re implementing these changes at your company, but how have you communicated that to your employees? Often, employees resist change when they don’t understand the logic behind why changes are being made. It’s important to remember that the way that you’re sharing information can have an impact as well. Some methods are more likely to lead to information overload, which can cause additional stress and overwhelm your employees. When you’re changing software, for example, their resistance could be due to information overload instead of information deficits.
2. Struggling to adapt
If your employees are used to doing things a certain way, they might resist change simply because they have a process that already works for them. Why should they struggle through the learning and adaptation process when they know what they’re doing? If you don’t give them reassurance that the changes being made will positively impact their day-to-day or fail to provide the resources they need to adapt to these changes, they’re more likely to resist.
3. Prolonged stress and dissatisfaction
Change is hard for everyone, but poorly implemented change has a lasting negative effect on employee morale and performance. According to Gartner, “73% of change-affected employees report experiencing moderate to high stress levels, and those suffering from change-related stress perform 5% worse than the average employee.” Getting employees to buy in on stress may require thorough planning and execution to avoid these negative side effects.
Now that you have a better understanding of why so many employees are resistant to buying in on the change implementation process at your company, you need to plan ahead to reduce their fears and hesitation. After all, Harvard Business Review found that 60%-70% of all change initiatives taken up by organizations fail. Your business can be in the successful 30%-40% of changemakers by doing the following:
Tips for getting employees to enthusiastically buy in on change
1. Clearly explain why change is needed
Clear communication is essential when getting employees on board for a big change. You need to clearly explain why the changes are being made and how they will benefit the company as a whole early on so they feel like they’re a part of the process. By soliciting feedback and input from employees, you can help them understand the reasons for the changes and address any concerns they may have. When employees feel like they are part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to be invested in the changes and supportive of the company’s goals. If the decision has already been made, walk them through the steps you and other decision-makers took to reach that decision so they can understand your reasoning and why this change is essential for the business to thrive.
2. Provide examples of how change will improve their day-to-day
To reduce some of the initial stress and hesitation your employees might feel when they hear that big changes are coming that will impact their day-to-day work lives, be prepared to provide examples of how this change will benefit them. Will the new software you’re implementing reduce their tedious, manual workflows and give them the gift of time back into their day? Will the team restructuring offer better communication and accountability, allowing fewer projects to fall through the cracks? Will the pivot in services allow your business to satisfy existing customers more effectively while bringing in a whole new market which could lead to business expansion and growth opportunities? Whether these examples are micro-level daily processes or macro-level goals for the future of the company, provide them to dispel any notions of needless change and get employees excited to help usher in a new era at your organization.
3. Get natural leaders onboard first
If you have a clear understanding of the culture that exists at your company already, you might know of a few employees who are natural leaders—people your other employees look to for guidance and leadership whether it’s a part of their job title or not. These employees can help you advocate for the changes being made. Involve them in the change-making process early on, providing initial training and asking for feedback on any challenges you might face when introducing these changes to the rest of your employees.
4. Provide training and support
According to a report from Google, “The majority of executives who considered their programs successful (69%) offered training before and after go-live.” Thorough training can reduce the stress that comes along with big changes and help your employees better adapt, ensuring success for the changes you hope to make. If you’re making in-house changes, do some research on the training and support materials that might be needed. If you’re implementing new software like Tigerpaw, you can use existing training resources that are designed to help employees learn skills at a pace that suits them and provide partners with the scalability and accountability they need.
Without employee buy-in and support, the changes you’re hoping to make could be met with resistance and lead to your business ultimately failing to achieve your intended goals. That’s why it’s important to take proactive steps to engage your employees, communicate the benefits of the changes, and provide the support and training necessary for a smooth transition, no matter what impactful change you’re hoping to implement.
If you’re looking for a solution that can help streamline your business processes, look no further than Tigerpaw’s business automation software. With comprehensive training and support during the implementation process, we can help you make the changes you need to take your business to the next level. Don’t wait – learn more about Tigerpaw today and see how it can help your business thrive.