In this age of resistance to everything new from technology to politics it's sometimes not easy to pinpoint exactly why people resist change. The obvious answer is that people resist when they do not see the benefit of making a change. Our comfort zones are also difficult to resist; after all we have been raised in an age where the whole purpose of life is to make things easier. Challenge has taken a back seat. Diversification in the workplace is more widely accepted mainly because of globalisation. However, pockets of resistance do still remain in some companies.
These often emerge only after a project stalls or fails completely. The usual culprit in these cases is a lack of co-operation from the people involved. Overcoming resistance to diversity from your staff can only be rewarding for both workers and management.
Take time to find the root of the problem. It isn't always obvious. We are expert at disguising our motives for avoiding real causes. This is because it may mean more work, disrupting relationships or stirring up issues that workers have not dealt with. Issues could be racial, gender or worker-rights based.
Fear of loss of status, position, value and power are real and are a common driver of resistance. If I empower my subordinate it lessens my own power or, if I include you then the space for me to participate is reduced. This thinking only sabotages a company that is looking to be a leader in its industry. Allay worker insecurity by showing how change is beneficial to both the company and worker.
Get resistant workers to co-operate by including them in decision making. This makes anyone feel valued. Have follow up meetings to assess the success or not, of decisions taken. Encourage workers to offer ideas on how to make projects work better.
Social interaction time must be factored into work week. This must not just be the drinks after work once a week. A sport activity that could include family members often helps workers to get a better understanding of differences in culture and behaviour of work-mates.
Encourage an interest in other languages by offering workshops where the role played by language in daily interaction is explained. It could be a playful and comedic workshop that teaches you to see things from a different perspective other than your own.
Demonstrate the value diversification brings to individual lives, apart from the value for the company. Show staff how learning to work with diverse people and cultures only enhances work experience and improves ability to adapt, innovate and grow.
Embracing the different and strange turns it into the familiar and comfortable. Help workers out of their comfort zones by showing them how change offers new challenges, new experiences and greater rewards and also show them how getting too comfortable can be disabling.
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LinkedIn: Sunrock Recruitment Ltd