10 Reasons Why Employees Resist Change In The Workplace

No, this is unfair.

Resistance to change is natural. No one wants to change until he is delighted with the change.

The same is with employees. Employees resist change in the workplace due to some uncertainties and personal reasons. Those reasons, later on, become conflicts.

Here are the top reasons employees (even managers) don’t respond to a change in the workplace. And how to overcome the issue to create a positive change in the workplace.

Lack of communication (the root cause)

Among all the reasons, the biggest reason that hinders employees from changing is lack of communication.

When organizations and companies often want to implement new ideas, they don’t use effective communication techniques to convince employees to adopt the change.

When there is no effective communication, it builds a gap and leaves many questions unanswered. That gap makes the employees resistant to change.

manager communication meeting

Let’s say you want to implement new software, but you were not transparent with your employees about why that software is essential and how that software will benefit the employees and organization; employees will never adopt the change easily.

That’s why it’s important to establish a strong bonding with your employees. It not only makes employees loyal but also reduces the resistance to positive change.

You must understand that employee loyalty is the only thing that can make or break your business. So, invest time and resources to make your employees loyal.

Due to habits and routine

One common reason behind any resistance is becoming habitual of a routine.

Let’s say you are implementing new working hours. It will disturb the employees. They already have set their routine to align with the previous working hours.

The new working hours might create many troubles in their domestic lives. Thus they resist.

Here is another example.

Over time you realize that you can save more data about your clients to sell them more products with personalized marketing. You adopted a new CRM and want your employees to use it.

As employees are habitual of a routine, finding a new way to raise questions and learn more about the clients will be hard. It can also feel them overburdened for no reason.

Basically, breaking habits and routines is hard, and it causes resistance.

To overcome this issue, you should arrange training to make employees realize that change is to improve the business model and they can quickly adopt the new system with a little effort.

The uncertainty involved in change

When there is a lack of communication and transparency, there is uncertainty.

Uncertainty keeps employees away from changes in the workplace.


Let’s say you have a new working structure to improve the figures on the graph. You have extensively researched the new working structure but didn’t share and satisfy the employees. Employees will remain uncertain and unconsciously resist change.

So the best scenario is to clear all the doubts of employees.

Still, you can’t win all hearts even with excellent communication, training, and coaching.

Some might still believe the previous system was as effective as the new one, so they don’t need to change. You are simply overburdening them for no benefits.

The reason behind this resistance could be their interests and losses.

To resolve this issue, managers can play their role. It’s in the characteristics of great managers that they keep things transparent and win employees’ hearts.

You should ask your managers to play their roles. They should guide employees that no change will harm their reputation or role, but it’s time to grow and compete with best practices.

Fear of personal loss

We all know experience matters the most in professional life. Experienced employees have respect, value, and authority in the organization.

When you bring something new, let’s say, implementing artificial intelligence in your business, experienced employees might fear personal loss.

They might believe that artificial intelligence might result in downsizing, cutting costs, and requiring new skills, all of which can result in personal losses.

Thus, employees, even managers, often fear changes due to personal losses.

If your business model is transparent and you have not planned to downsize after the change. You should be transparent with your employees and tell them your futuristic plans.

You can discuss how you see them playing a big role in your company in the following decades after its change.

Some bad employees can still resist the change, but once most accept the change, the minor resistance won’t matter.

Fear of the unknown (another top reason)

Change has uncertainty involved.

Even when you convince people that the change is positive and will bring ease to their work, you can’t remove the fear of the unknown from the minds of all employees.

Who knows that any employee will become capable of adopting change? He might not adjust to the change and lose his job.

This fear of the unknown makes employees resistant to change in the workplace.

Once you communicate everything with them, this fear will vanish.

Lack of motivation

In professional lives, you can convince employees to adopt a change to survive, but that’s not the right way to get things done.

It will undoubtedly result in resistance to change. It can also result in an increased turnover. Thus, it can even increase the pressure on the company instead of benefiting the business.

So, the wisest way to change is to motivate employees to accept and adopt the change.

It will require a lot of homework and coaching. But this way, you will win the hearts and get optimal results with the change.

Employees resist due to mistrust.

It’s a by-product of a lack of communication and transparency.

In some organizations, things are not disclosed to employees; many things are kept secretive, and many figures are never shared with employees. In such organizations, employees don’t trust the system. It also affects employees’ loyalty.

Thus any change will be fearful to the employees. They don’t know what’s happening under the table and what will result in the end.

If you are a good boss, you can easily develop trust with your employees by being transparent to them.

Being transparent doesn’t mean showing your finances; most employees don’t care how much you make from them, but they want to feel secure in the company. Give them a friendly environment, make them feel secure, and it will develop trust.

In fact, security is a basic need to attract and retain loyal employees.

Poor timing also causes resistance.

Timing plays its role when it comes to implementing changes.

Here is an example to understand it.

When you want to implement many changes simultaneously, it will result in mistrust and resistance. Employees become afraid of many changes at times.

If it’s the first time you bring so many changes, you might suffer a lot.

So the wisest way is to wait for the right time if there are many things to change, prioritize and implement changes over time.

Peer pressure

People also resist change in the workplace due to the benefits of certain groups and unions.

It’s common for employees to live in groups and unions at work. Some employees have a significant influence due to relations with authorities; some might be the opposition.

Thus it will result in resistance to change.

Certain groups will always resist changes at work due to peer pressure.

You can overcome the issue by being friendly with both groups. You should never be biased against any group.

Previous experience with change

Employees will be more open to adopting changes if they keep experiencing new things and it’s their routine work. But they will also remember the consequences of changes.

For instance, if, with every positive change, you are downsizing the labor, the labor will not easily let you implement changes.

They will resist because they will be fearful of losing their job.

In such situations, you must adopt creative ways to implement change.

Thus if you want to bring change, you should keep the reasons mentioned above in mind to implement the changes wisely in the workplace.