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Embracing Change: Nurturing Employees Amidst Organizational Transformation

June, 2023 — Written by Alfin Adichandra, Hashella Kostan & Trineke Haruko


Overcoming Employees’ Resistance to Change with Support and Transparency

Change is inevitable, and if the world itself keeps on changing, let alone an organization. As the market and industry trend demand changes from organizations, to ensure that it’s still able to stand tall on their own feet despite the harsh wind coming from left and right, developing its people are one of the most crucial things to do—after all, organizations are vessels and vessels need crews to navigate it to safety in the face of the upcoming storm.

Some people treat change like an old friend whom they welcome with open arms, then followed by a warm hug, but for others, it is a threat they despise for it will stray them from their usual path and may lead them to a different destination they have in mind originally. So, how can organizations face and deal with their people who fall into the latter category? How can they provide new learning for them when they refuse to change in the first place? Before we get into the ‘how’, let’s step back and get into the ‘why’ first.

Remember, Your Employees are People and Most People Fear the Unknown

There are two main reasons for employees’ resistance to change, with the first one being fear of the change itself. People are creatures of habit and routine, and some find comfort in these. So the thought of doing or learning something new can invoke fear inside of them as something new means bidding goodbye to their comfort zone and greeting the unknown. If we pull it into the organizational context, one of the issues in transformation is revolving around skillsets, how these individuals fear that their expertise may no longer be relevant due to the upcoming changes and it will lead them to be replaced.

The second one is the lack of understanding of the upcoming change. As a leader, we cannot assume that our employees know the importance of transformation despite it being obvious to us. So, what matters the most during this fragile transition? Transparency. Management’s transparency to its employees can also prevent any rumors that will only make the employees skeptical about the change. The less information one has, the more assumptions one will eventually create.

Support and Transparency—Two Small yet Crucial Factors We Sometimes Overlook

To deal with employees’ resistance to change, first and foremost, organizations must address the two main reasons that have been mentioned above. They should safely tamper down the worry and the fear in their employees by providing them with reasons why the change is necessary and how it will benefit the organization as a whole. This can be done effectively in a town hall meeting attended by every individual in the organization.

After the understanding is given and the hearts of these individuals are ready to open and welcome the change, here comes the actual learning process. The learning approach will depend on the situation of the participants, if the competency gap is palpable, then a learning program can be conducted immediately, but should the problem lay in the lack of willingness to pursue the transformation, then there should be a session where employees can learn about the change a bit closer—or even participate first-handily in the transformation based on their line of work.

Lastly, to wrap it up, this learning process will be futile without the existence of management’s support at every step along the way and any given rewards for the participants should feel reinforced by the organizations and included as the agent of change.

In conclusion, embracing change and fostering a culture of continuous learning are imperative for organizations to thrive amidst the ever-evolving market and industry trends. Acknowledging that some of your employees may view change as a daunting prospect is crucial, and addressing their fears and concerns with transparency and support is just as essential before pushing them towards the transformation.

Hashella Kostan
Consultant for Assessment and Learning |

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