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Helping Employees Accept Change

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - Joe Kiedinger

Are you going through a time of transition? I mean, most of us are at any given time. Whether it’s new leadership, a loss of staffing or a major restructuring—if big changes are taking place at work, you’re likely sensing some significant confusion, stress and pushback from your team.

The big question is, in the midst of it all, how do we help our employees through the change so that they can get on board with it?

First, it helps to understand a bit of the psychology behind change. I mean, life is change, really. So, why do we fear it? Some of it is directly related to our childhood programming—things that happened early in life shape our perspective on seemingly similar situations later in life. This uncertainty can also be attributed to a fear of the unknown (and the instability it can bring).

As an Inc. Magazine article shared,  “Neuroscience research teaches us that uncertainty registers in our brain much like an error does. It needs to be corrected before we can feel comfortable again, so we’d rather not have that hanging out there if we can avoid it. We also fear change because we fear that we might lose what’s associated with that change. Our aversion to loss can even cause logic to fly out the window.”

With this in mind, how do we help our associates walk through the changes we’re facing at the office? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Think About Their Perspective
    Realize that not everyone is going to react the same way to the change and that’s okay. Take the time to talk one-on-one with your associates and understand their perspective on the issue at hand. One helpful method: ask them how comfortable they are with the change on a scale of 1-10 and why. Some may be at an 8, while others are at a 2. It’s a great gauge to help leaders discover which employees need more support.

  2. Walk Through the Mud with Them
    Make sure your employees know they’re not alone and they don’t have to figure everything out themselves. You’re all facing the same change and will confront it as a united team.

  3. Be Open and Honest
    It’s tempting to simply announce a change at the office once and then never really talk as a group about what it means. I challenge you to continue to discuss the change, ask for feedback and simply take in your associates’ thoughts. Leave all defensiveness at the door and let your employees provide honest feedback and ask all the questions swirling in the back of their minds. Because an open, honest workplace breeds a trusting, engaged workforce.


ACTION PLAN: Need more help walking through the change you’re facing? We help companies do it every day.

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