Overcoming the inbuilt human resistance to change

Blog article | By Anthony Wolny, November 7, 2018

Picture the scenario, your boss walks into the office and says, “The company will be undergoing some major changes, and the way you work is never going to be the same again.”

It’s safe to say that even the most adaptable employee would have some reservations regarding the upcoming change.

However, with the rapid rate of technological growth, this kind of change has become routine in modern business culture.

Margaret Ruiseal, Partner and Head of HR Transformation practice, Mercer, said, “The speed of software deployment is greater than the individual speed of behavior change.”

Rapid software change has resulted in a multitude of issues for organizations.

Forbes found that 62% of people are opposed to change; the combination of frequent software change and people’s unwillingness to change has created a significant issue for digital transformation projects.

In fact, McKinsey and Company found that these kinds of issues cause 70% of all digital transformation projects to fail.

Due to this reality, it’s now more crucial than ever that organizations understand how to correctly approach change so that they don’t fall into the failing 70%.

How you can overcome the resistance to change

It’s inherently difficult for organizations to overcome people’s natural resistance to change, especially when change occurs so frequently in the workplace.

However, it is possible. The key is providing enough support and communication throughout the entire change process.

By maintaining this level of support, you create a much more positive perception of change, overriding people’s natural resistance, and improving your user adoption.

But, two factors are often overlooked when delivering this much-needed support.

The message and the delivery.

The message

One generalized support message will not suffice; you must consider each employee’s needs, position, and role.

To overcome this inbuilt resistance, employees need a level of care and understanding.

The software changes you’re implementing won’t affect every employee in the same way; as a result, you can’t expect one generalized message to sufficiently prepare each employee.

Taking the time to consider the effect this change will have on your employees, provides you with the tools to settle any worries and enhance the overall perception.

The delivery

Most organizations have the challenge of an email immune audience.

Traditional communication methods such as emails have a low open rate with the actual message often getting lost.

Sending a set of emails to your workforce simply won’t achieve the goal of communicating change.

In the past, email communications have led to a poor understanding of what the change will bring and how it will affect each employee.

The solution to this issue is to use a variety of trackable channels to push your message. Using both in-application and out-of-application communications are necessary to raise awareness and consumability.

The only way your employees can keep up with the change is if you communicate quicker, better and more effectively.

By expanding your communication methods past email and using a trackable approach, you can ensure your message reaches your employees.


The inbuilt human resistance to change is a massive hurdle for organizations, that can often be detrimental to change initiatives.

It’s important to remember that to implement change successfully you must consider much more than just the software.

By creating a bespoke message and expanding your communication streams, you can overcome the inbuilt human resistance to change.


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