The Keys to Facilitating Change

Work environments are constantly evolving and regularly face major turnarounds, whether technological change, new approaches to management or restructuring. Some tips to helping employees overcome resistance to change and inspire commitment in times of turbulence.

“The person who resists change feels insecure and uncomfortable thinking they can no longer perform their job with the same ease,” notes Isabelle Bédard, CHRP and CEO of CIB Développement organisationnel. “With this mindset, it is easier to raise issues instead of proposing solutions.”

Winning Practices

The ability to adapt to new circumstances depends largely on the attitude with which we approach change. Bédard says there are three winning managerial practices which lead to compliance and employee engagement.

1. Acceptance

The manager's role is to facilitate acceptance by reaffirming the validity and scope of change, adapting the pace of implementation and paying attention to the employee while applauding their efforts.

2. Support

In this phase, the manager must not let the employee fall back into old habits. The supervisor periodically looks at their reactions and their journey, and provides adequate support to help master the new requirements.

3. Collaboration

Finally, in the collaboration phase, the manager involves the employee in the change, tracks and corrects potential problems and issues regular progress reports. This mobilization can only work if the employee feels helpful, competent and appreciated.

Exploring different reflection angles

To help the employee see more clearly, Isabelle Bédard has four angles of reflection that encourage introspection and expression of ideas.

1. The current situation

If the change is creating dissatisfaction, employees will identify the aspects that displease them. This reflection could lead them to put the change into perspective and recognize that certain other aspects aren’t posing any problem.

2. The stress level

It can be beneficial for the employee to define, on a scale of 1 to 10, perceived stress levels and try to pinpoint what causes this stress. Also good to better manage what follows and avoid contaminating the whole team.

3. The personal investment

The greater or lesser intent to adapt will translate itself into employee levels of investment. They can repeat the exercise of scale, this time by evaluating the efforts they are willing to make in the coming weeks to try and adapt to change and determine how their efforts will translate into concrete action.

4. The future situation

If the employee does not trust that the situation will improve despite their efforts, it will be very difficult to regain their enthusiasm and adopt a constructive attitude. In such cases, we can help the employee to see beyond the current impasse by projecting it into the future. In a few weeks, do you think the situation will become more interesting for you? What could help you adapt to the new location as quickly as possible? The employee chooses to invest more if they see a positive outcome to the situation.

“An employee who resists change needs attention,” states the Human Resources Advisor. “The manager must fight the reflex to ignore the negative individual, which will only strengthen their closed-mindedness. Instead, they must maintain cohesion among the team, and show each member that they are important and their contribution is necessary in obtaining collective results.”

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