This paper discusses PG Industries, a fictitious company that has recently introduced a change in its operations. The new VP of Manufacturing, Laine Thomas, has decided to add a new training program in the department. However, despite the senior management’s efforts to adopt the program, the process is happening slower than desired. One prominent reason is resistance from long-term employees, who are entrenched in the current practice and unwilling to change them to suit the new policy. With that said, the change is still necessary, and the management is seeking ways to secure its adoption. To that end, they will review the change management process and the methods it has for overcoming resistance. This paper will identify four measures the company can take to overcome the resistance and achieve the improvements that are associated with the change.
The first method that will be discussed in this paper is improved communication regarding the purpose of the change. Long-term employees are likely to resist because they see the training as unnecessary, as they are satisfied with current processes and performance. They see the measure as a waste of effort on their part, as it will use their time without any tangible benefit to them or the business. By communicating the perceived issues and explaining how the training will improve processes, the management can secure the cooperation of some team members who are willing to acknowledge the current problems. Depending on the nature of the resistance, the management can set up a group meeting, distribute reports, or conduct one-on-one discussions, with other methods also being available (Bateman, Snell, & Konopaske, 2018). With that said, different strategies should be prepared to convince people who are not persuaded.
The second proposed way to ensure that the proposal is implemented would be to involve the resisting employees in its implementation. As Bateman et al. (2018) highlight, people who are affected by a change should be included in its design. They may be able to identify issues and opportunities for improvement that the management has missed while considering different aspects of the proposal due to their unique experiences. As such, the transition from theory to practice will be smoother, and the ultimate result will be more suitable to the environment at the company. Moreover, as employees participate in the design of the change, they will likely become invested in it and try to implement it rather than resist. Overall, this method should be effective, though it works best when applied before the active implementation of the change.
The third approach would be to offer incentives to employees who support the change and work to implement it. Miller and Proctor (2016) identify this approach as one of the five ways to secure acceptance of the change. In the case of PG Industries, the employees who have undergone the training can be incentivized with improved raises and promotion opportunities. After seeing that there are direct rewards associated with the new process, the long-term workers will lose some of their reasons to resist. With that said, the management has to avoid excessive incentives and recognize the contributions of the workers who are opposed to the change. If they feel as though they have been penalized for their stance while workers with less experience or worse performance are promoted, they can generate negative sentiment. In the worst-case scenario, they may leave, damaging the company’s performance through the loss of their knowledge.
The final method, which should only be used after the other approaches fail to secure staff acceptance, would be to force the adoption of the new training. Bateman et al. (2018) identify viable methods as threats of promotion denial, job loss, or other punishments for resisting the change. The considerations from the previous paragraph still apply, which is why this method is not desirable. The employees in question are experienced and valuable, and their loss would affect the company negatively. However, if resistance continues and the other measures do not persuade the workers, an active stance may become necessary. As such, the management should try every other option listed before committing to an antagonistic and forceful approach.
Overall, the change that is the focus of this paper is likely not significant enough that employees will resist it strongly. Effective communication should lead to acceptance of the new training, provided the management supplies valid and compelling arguments. Employee involvement should also be considered due to its potential benefits, and it can be integrated into the discussion through the collection of feedback. Lastly, encouragement of acceptance through benefits will likely convince the remaining employees through the introduction of a direct reason for them to accept the change. Punishments or threats thereof will probably not have to be applied to achieve the desired result, as the issue is not contentious enough to create the necessary degree of antagonism. However, in broader practice, managers should be prepared to employ each of the listed methods and others if the situation warrants the acts.
Bateman, T. S., Snell, S. A., & Konopaske, R. (2018). M: Management (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Miller, D., & Proctor, A. (2016). Enterprise change management: How to prepare your organization for continuous change. Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page.