The reasons your employees are resisting change, and how to overcome them

Making changes across your business might feel like an unwelcome challenge. If you have ways of working that have always been followed, procedures that have been in place for many years, and a successful business making money, it can be difficult to see the benefits of changing the way you do things.

However, once you know what your opportunities are with new processes, and the chances available to you when you make the changes, you quickly start to feel the benefits within your business. But when your employees don’t seem on board with change, or are resisting new systems in favour of their old ways of working, how do you tackle this?

Positive changes to employee mindset mean huge opportunities for your business to continue to succeed. Let’s take a look at the most common employee barriers to new processes, and how you can overcome them.


‘We’ve always done it this way’

Your business has operated in the same way for years. And, at first glance, it’s working: you’re growing your audience and maximising your profits. Why would you want to change it?

When you’re heavily involved in the daily running of a busy business, it’s hard to see things objectively. So take a step back and see what could – and should – change. For example, we’ve recently worked with a client’s accounting team. The person heading-up the department had worked there for 30 years, yet was unsure of how to use the accounting software or even work with Excel. The invoices were still being sent out and getting paid, so it didn’t appear at first to be an issue. Yet the person had never been given the chance to learn how to complete this process quicker, and better, as they didn’t know how systems would help them. Once they understood the benefits, and had the right resources, the business’ accounting became easier, more efficient and cost-effective.


‘We already know what we’re doing’

Long-term employees know your business inside out. They’ve kept things running for years, especially if your company is a family business that’s closely-knit. So when change management is talked about, they’re likely to resist it.

The big challenge to overcome here is to get the information out of employees’ heads and into a process map. Whilst it’s great an employee is so knowledgeable, it’s a concern if they leave, are taken absent, or simply aren’t aware there’s another – better – way of doing things. At times, employees may fear sharing their knowledge is increasing competition for their roles or reducing their value to the company. We overcome this and change their thinking by showing them the reasons and benefits for new ways of working, not just for the organisation but for them as individuals too. With empathy and understanding, we make sure they know that sharing information, rather than keeping it close, means better ways of working that creates more opportunities within an even more successful business.


‘We’re a big organisation, so it’s a big task’

It’s true that larger businesses often face bigger challenges when making changes. After all, there are more people to involve and there’s more work to do. Is it worth it?

It isn’t a quick fix. Yet when you look at the individuals who make up the big picture, you’ll begin to piece together what really matters and where to target your real process changes. On management approval, we have individual conversations with team members that are open and honest, making sure their views are listened to and we understand any barriers to change. Not only does this make sure you’re clear about the changes that really matter to your team, but it also means your employees feel more understood, appreciated and valued, and are more likely to get on board with the changes you make.


‘We already know what’s great for our business’

Every big business typically focusses on what they think will suit the needs of the organisation as whole. You know your business best, so surely you know what the right changes need to be to improve it?

On paper, new system changes may seem great. But if your employers resist them, you need to talk to them to understand why. Consider a recent client of ours, who was looking at a new recruitment system. The system insisted every candidate needed to apply for a job by phone. What they hadn’t realised is the change was being resisted due to issues including language barriers or limited phone usage, which made it hard for their employees to follow the new processes. Engaging with the team meant the resistance was understand, and overcome, with the different process changes that worked for individuals and made better organisational sense.


To make real process change, you need to have the desire to see a positive difference. With a better understanding your customer requirements and the needs of the people who work for you, a clear picture of the ways individuals operate, and an appreciation of sharing information across your organisation, you can overcome this resistance to change. The result is smoother processes, happier teams and an overall improved way of running your successful organisation.

At Propolis Process Solutions, our team work with management and individuals alike to truly understand what’s going on in your business so we know why change is resisted and what to do to overcome it. To see how we can support you and your team, contact Sarah: