What is a Change Resistance Management Plan, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Change Resistance Management Plan
A Change Resistance Management Plan is a method that can be utilized if and when your team encounters resistance to its change management efforts. Individuals within the organization can be change-averse because uncertainty associated with change creates fear and anxiety, which people typically try to avoid. In addition to these emotional experiences, employees are concerned with the manner in which these initiatives will influence their work, salary, and personal life. To assess the potential impact of the change on their personal and work lives, employees often assess (consciously or unconsciously) their trust in the communication around the change, and whether the values of the organization after the change will align with their personal values. To avoid these unpleasant emotions and work experiences, employees may cling to present procedures, processes or products and can combat change initiatives either directly or passive aggressively. Therefore, it becomes critical to ensure your team develops a plan to address the potential pushback to ensure that the organization can remain competitive by implementing its required change management plan.
Description of Change Resistance Management Plan
A Change Management Resistance Plan includes five elements:
Resistance Assessment. Identify where in the change process you will encounter the most resistance: (1) when employees perceive old systems are being removed, (2) during transitions towards an unknown environment or (3) when navigating new territory. Notably, resistance can occur in any or all of the three phases.
Engagement Strategy: Choose a method to address resistance to change where appropriate:
- Resistance Prevention. Develop a structured resistance plan akin to a change management plan (I.e., focus on the pieces of a change management plan that will reduce resistance rather than those oriented toward implementing change). Specifically, make individuals aware of the purpose of the change, the necessity of the change and the pitfalls of stagnation. Importantly, bringing awareness of the change will be the most effective when it is introduced at the beginning of the change initiative.
- Proactive Resistance Management. Anticipate the individuals in the organization most likely to be averse to the change and the root cause of their aversion, and consider ways to address it.
- Reactive Resistance Management. After the change initiative is activated, develop a plan to address resistance that may come from unexpected parties for unanticipated reasons.
Engagement Programs. Conduct workshops or informal discussions about the change program with the impacted groups and across various levels of the organization to gather information about who will most likely resist change and why. Reasons will vary depending on the group. For example, discussions with affected parties might depend on the degree to which the change program disrupts their current work and function. Individuals at high organizational levels might take issue with the loss of power or control and increased job demands, whereas lower level employees might be concerned about the uncertainty associated with change, extra duties to learn, increased responsibilities, etc.
Resistance Tracking. Determine where resistance management will play a role in each stage of the change program. In addition, consider developing formal assessments or seeking employee or supervisor feedback to assess the degree of resistance across various stakeholder groups at each stage.
Training Interventions. Train senior and middle managers to identify who resists change and why, and be able to take steps to minimize it. Specifically, these trainings should emphasize how to have frank conversations, relay important messages to them and prosper in their roles after the change.
In addition to ensuring the success of your change program, creating a Change Management Resistance Plan will help to mitigate other negative consequences of resistance such as delays on project progress, decreased productivity, and employee turnover.
Tools & Templates
This is no one template or tool for creating a Change Resistance Management Plan. Most plans are created as a document or presentation. Surveys and spreadsheets are also often used for stakeholder assessments to determine resistance levels and action plans.
upBOARD's Online Change Resistance Management Plan Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Change Resistance Management Planning techniques, upBOARD’s online collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other change management best practice tools and templates, including:
AIM Accelerated Implementation Methodology, Beckhard & Harris Change Process, Boston Consulting Group Change Delta, Brainstorming, Bridges’ Leading Transition Model, Burning Platform, Case for Change, Change Fatigue, Change Management Curve, Change Management Impact Analysis, Change Management Maturity Model, Change Management Levers, Change Management Plan, Change Management Roadmap, Change Proposal, Change Readiness Assessment, Change Resistance Management Plan, Change Risk Assessment, Change Success Metrics, Communications Planning, Core Values, Deming Change Cycle, EASIER Change Management, Employee Engagement Plan, Feedback Capture Grid, Focus Groups, Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture, GE Change Acceleration Process, Go-Live Planning, Head, Heart and Hands Model, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, Kubler Ross Change Curve, Lewin’s Change Management Model, Maurer’s 3 Levels of Resistance, Nudge Change Model, People Centered Implementation, Performance Support, Process Mapping, Sponsor Roadmap, Stakeholder Analysis, Stakeholder Interviews, Switch Change Framework, User Acceptance Testing, VRIO Framework and What’s In It For Me (WIIFMs).