Why Employees Resist Process (and What To Do About It)

Embracing a new process doesn’t come easily for people. If you’ve invested time, money, and resources to improve workflow through a documented process, you know what I mean. It’s frustrating to follow up months later to discover that many employees continue to do things the way they’ve always done them. Why does this happen, and why is there resistance? Resistance begins with a fear of loss.  

Some people don’t necessarily resist following a process itself, but they do fear losing something. Here are some examples:

  • Loss of status – Their role and importance to the organization may be diminished.
  • Loss of control – Their freedom to do it THEIR way may be constrained.
  • Loss of certainty – They’re concerned that trying something new might not work.  And they may feel uncertain that you will stay the course and finish what you start.
  • Loss of employment – They may think improving efficiency and productivity will eliminate jobs.

Here are five suggestions to overcome resistance: 

1. Explain Why

Core processes tie directly to the customer experience, as illustrated by your PROVEN Process (part of your marketing strategy). Providing customers with a consistent experience earns their trust and builds loyalty, creating more business and opportunities to grow.

2. Get Their Input

The people who do the work should help determine the best way to deliver the desired result. Not involving them, asking them, or engaging them will build resentment and resistance to following any new process.

3. Begin with the END in Mind

Determine the desired outcome for the process. Then work backward to identify each high-level step necessary to drive that outcome, especially when you have long revenue cycles.

4. Keep It Simple

Only a handful of core processes drive every business. Determine who has accountability for each one. Identify the high-level steps in each process, the owner of each step, and the acceptable time frame for completion.

5. Establish Metrics

Identify activities, then review each step so you can measure the activities to learn whether the overall process works.

How strong is your company?

The fact is, your business has processes for getting things done. They may not be clear, simple, or documented, but things are getting done. They’re just not getting done consistently or on time.

So, if you’re not getting the results you want, it should be apparent that your processes need work. Well-documented processes ensure that your customers and employees have a consistent experience and give you the ability to scale your business.

Creating the best processes for your business requires input from leaders and managers and also from the people who’ve been doing the work. Ask yourself how many employees will retire within the next three years.

Have you documented their knowledge, experience, and “way of doing things”? How long will it take to train their replacements, and who will do that training? Capture their input today before you lose this great source of knowledge.

Begin strengthening the Process Component of your business today. Download a free chapter of Process! to get started.

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