A lack of enthusiasm for employees to change does not always have to be purely focused on the change as such. Often other things play an important role. Matters relating to communication between management and employees or the fact that the latter do not understand the meaning of the change.
When the change agent encounters resistance, it is worthwhile asking what reasons the employees might have for this resistance. In most cases, this lack of enthusiasm does not stem from immutable character traits, but from uncertainty or not understanding what the change agent actually wants.
One of the biggest mistakes a change agent can make is to dismiss these signals as irrelevant and ‘just’ expressions of resistance.
We describe a number of good reasons for those involved to show a lack of enthusiasm
The change is not in the interest of the employees. They might think they will be worse off. The decline may relate to the job, status, job satisfaction, prospects, and future opportunities.
Lack of clarity. Information about the change may be inadequate, given in the wrong way, or come across wrong. The goals are not clear and/or the employees cannot translate the proposed change to their own situation.
The people involved think they can do better. They think they have more information, knowledge, or experience than the person proposing the change.
The employees fear not being able to meet the new requirements. They worry about their own ability to learn new things.
They might feel that they are not being taken seriously. The lack of enthusiasm for them has to do with the way they are treated. They feel they are not taken seriously, treated unfairly, not honored, and resist for that reason.
The people involved do not see the point of the change. Things have always gone well in a current way. Some employees are more open to new things because of their personality, and others are more conservative. The lack of enthusiasm that often arises in organizational change can also be seen as the energy that can become available.
Keep a shared vision of the future in mind. A common theme creates a bond. See if it is possible to first work internally on a shared vision of the result that the change is intended to achieve. Formulate a mission that is both useful and inspiring and make sure that this mission and the passion of employees reinforce each other.
Build trust. Organizational change requires both “humanity and “businesslikeness”: the heart for the mission and understanding towards the people who will achieve it. In an organization, you can only win together; this will always have to be emphasized.
Deal with information in a balanced way. The consequence of an excess of irrelevant information is that necessary data cannot be found. Communicating only by e-mail does not create a balance between giving and receiving. Always keep the goal in mind: the better use and sharing of information. If possible, look for blockages and obstacles together.
Let the structure develop through the process. Structures must be able to grow along with the process. If they do not, there will be a loss of functionality. Also, be alert for too little order, this can make things unpredictable. In a dynamic environment, get into the habit of setting priorities together and doing the most important things first.
Stimulate collaboration. If employees learn to fit in with each other more and more, better solutions can be realized as a result. A joint effort creates greater effectiveness and harmony in your company.
Make use of feedback. Feedback is a valuable commodity. If the previous development conditions are met, there is a basis from which people can see mistakes and relational breakdowns as opportunities. Feedback creates governability.
Maintain the dynamic balance. Quality can only emerge and the learning organization can only be born when the previous principles are aligned. Achieving this dynamic balance requires maintenance. It also requires ‘awareness’ to keep in touch with the multitude of signals being sent out and to consciously deal with them. Everything a person does or does not do affects the organizational change system.
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