People resist change, a truism which comes under the familiar heading “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t.” Even the creaky, cranky, not-working-so-very-well same-o same-o is more reassuring than some unknown future, which is why employees are often resistant.
This, however, is a problem when there is a change you need to implement, be it something as simple as a change in the vacation policy, or as complex as instituting a new software program across the board. There will be some eager beavers who will be thrilled at the change, but the majority of your employees will moan and complain, find all sorts of reasons why they can’t manage the change, and even inadvertently sabotage what you’re trying to do.
Kevin Eikenberry, in a recent Leadership Tip (Remarkable Learning, November 2013), suggests engaging your employees at an emotional level to facilitate the change, for example by generating:
“Interest. While the status quo is a powerful thing, when we discover something new we feel a sense of possibility. When you help people get interested in some component of, or outcome of the change, you create the powerful emotion of interest.
Hope. We have all been in those situations and probably felt it in the midst of an organizational change, yet hope is the belief that things can, and will, improve. Help people see past today and you will be stimulating this emotion.”
Too often, we get mired in the intricacies of making the change happen, and neglect showing employees the bigger picture: how the outcome of the change will benefit the company, and hopefully, your employees – specifically.
Creating interest and hope, deliberately, are great ways to engage your employees in the change, despite short-term inconvenience or disruption.