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How to Overcome Resistance When Motivating Employees



Learning how to overcome resistance when motivating your employees can help you implement energetic and morale boosting changes in your organization more easily.

Whether you’re trying to make changes for the company at large or for particular departments, you may notice that employees are resistant to change. This is natural! Employees will be resistant to even the slightest changes, including motivation initiatives. It is usually better to plan for change and use encouraging methods with incentives baked in to create change, but that may not always be possible. However, companies must remain adaptable to change, especially motivation initiatives, to ensure survival. Keeping your employees involved in the process will help them get through the changes more easily. This will help them overcome their resistance to the changes and will benefit you both now, and in the future.


Considerations understanding-resistance-to-change

Remember that change is a necessity for any company, but that it can threaten the culture of your workplace, such as core values, work environments and more. Fear is a natural response to change, even when employees will gain a lot more bonuses and options with the modification. It is important for you and your leaders to understand that there is a personal and professional stake in any change you decide upon.

  • Before managers can overcome resistance, they must be able to comprehend it.



Currently, you’re focused on motivational issues, but there are various types of changes that may occur in an organization. It’s important to understand the specific type of change at hand. This will make you more aware of how your employees may feel. When you understand how your employees feel you are better able to react and provide them with what they need to overcome fear or any other obstacles to manage change and make a smooth transition.


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What To Dowhat-to-do

If your employees aren’t motivated right now, you’re losing revenue. You’ve decided that change is necessary and wonder how to go about it. The first step is to talk with the employees and let them know that the change is a positive initiative for everyone involved. Set a schedule that will show them how this new activity will fit into their busy schedule without ruining their plans. This also gives them a chance to rearrange their plans and agendas to fit this new activity into their schedule. Be considerate and ensure that you are walking them through each step and providing clear direction and information on WHY this change or that change is being implemented. They must be able to see the larger picture and feel like they are a part of it all.


You may need outside help in the form of leadership or motivational professionals. Other professionals can come in and give motivational speeches or leadership seminars to help employees understand the reason for the change.


In some cases, that may be enough for employees to accept and embrace change in a positive and constructive way. Try employing different motivational methods to help your employees embrace the change if they are struggling to do so. You may decide to give everyone a raise or give them bonuses when they meet their targets, but you could also give recognition if they respond better to that (employee-of-the-month, etc.).


Related Article: How To Create a More Productive Team

Related Article: 5 Simple Ways To Motivate Your Employees


Another way to reduce resistance is to allow the employee to decide how they want to be motivated. Let them give you ideas as to what they want. For example, you may think that a raise is the best option, but some peotime-for-changeple would prefer that you include health benefits for those that don’t work a full 40 hours or that you make changes elsewhere. Simply have a conversation with the individual and present them with options, this way you will know what motivates that person instead of trying to guess.

Learning how to overcome resistance to employee motivation initiatives can seem daunting, but it is a task that will pay dividends if done and managed correctly!



Stay Motivated! Stay Successful!

Doug Dvorak, CSP



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