When employees get into a comfort zone and are used to the existing modus operandi, as a manager you might not get positive feedback to any change initiative. Added to this, it will be mind-boggling to assess the emotional impact of the news that change is imminent. Your employees begin worrying about the impending change. It is this worry that translates into a resistance to change. Outwardly, it may appear that all members are adapting to change. However, most of them house apprehensions and this impacts the work and overall employee morale. Therefore, you need to prevent employee resistance whenever you are sure that the team or company is headed for a major change. Here are some ways in which you can prevent resistance from the team members and seek employee participation in reaching overall organisational goals.

Communicate the details tactically

Depending on the organisational stance at the period of change, you might want to communicate the details to your team about the change. You might need to use discretion and communicate the details accordingly. Most organisation policies describe the ways in which you can communicate during critical times. Hence, you need to be careful not to divulge additional details through other channels. It is always better to avoid sharing organisation-specific details, without authority. As a representative of the company, you might also dispel any theories that are afloat in the social media. Make it a point to report any such unwarranted communication to the organisation. Thus, you can prevent panic in the minds of the employees.

Solicit regular feedback

When things do not remain the same, you need to gather feedback more frequently. Thus, you get a chance to check the emotional ebbs and tides of your employees and work on the required areas. Collective feedback from teams, groups, and departments sometimes gives you additional feedback. In fact, you can arrange for meetings department-wise and seek the help of representatives who are willing to share the views of the members of the team and departments. You will be able to clarify a lot of facts during such meetings and help employees differentiate between facts and rumours. Most information you deliver, thus, will help assuage fears and arrest anxiety to a great extent. Research suggests that this is more helpful when compared to sharing news through e-mail and other modes of communication.

Understand and manage the attitudes of individuals and teams

Once the team is aware of the change, you need to take advantage of the information available at your end. You get some key attributes such as individual capabilities, attitudes and behaviour patterns that you gain during the team forming stage. Use this information to group people into categories based on their response patterns and manage each group accordingly. Thus, you will able to keep anxiety at the minimal level and prevent baseless rumours from spreading.

Let employees also strategise the change at their level

Wherever possible, seek employee feedback and encourage them to come up with plans. Most often, plans that are devised from the bottom up and flow upwards include specific details. Such a detailed planning and analysis will make everyone responsible for the change. People are better equipped to face the consequences as they are part of the decisions made and plans formulated. Make it a point to build responsibility and accountability.

If you encourage employees by sharing the positive consequences of the planned change, you also need to make them more responsible. You need to assign tasks to employees before and after change.

In addition to that, you need to make them accountable for the results. Let them realise the magnitude of influence their efforts yield. Thus, you get more employee engagement and involvement.

As always, it is only the loyal employees who will be ready to embrace change and face the consequences if they receive adequate support from the organisation.

Hence, you need to make it a point to improve employee morale and ensure that the majority of employees are ready to believe in what the organisation says.

Chakravarthy Tenneti