Employees resist their 3rd organizational transformation — What can you do?

Dim Blinov
5 min readMar 6, 2023

Employees resistance reasons, expressions, and how to address them

Leading an Agile transformation in a company that has already undergone two transformations recently can be a challenging task, particularly for consultants working with employees. Change fatigue, skepticism, and resistance to change are common issues that can arise in such situations, making it difficult to successfully implement Agile methodologies. Employees may be hesitant to embrace new ways of working, especially if they have experienced previous changes that have not delivered the expected results.

However, there are proven strategies that consultants can use to build support for Agile and help employees overcome change fatigue. By focusing on communication, collaboration, and transparency, as well as leveraging tools such as training, coaching, and continuous learning, consultants can successfully lead Agile transformations and help organizations realize the benefits of this approach.

Employees resistance reasons

Employees may resist an Agile transformation in a company that has already undergone two previous transformations. Here are some potential ways that employees may resist an Agile transformation:

  1. Change fatigue: The employees that have already experienced two transformations in the past would be fatigued to yet another change initiative.
  2. Fear of the unknown: Employees may be apprehensive about the change and uncertain about how Agile will impact their job or work environment. They may be concerned about job security or may not understand how Agile works. Employees may be uncertain about the new way of working and may be hesitant to adopt new practices or tools. They may be worried about the impact on their day-to-day work or concerned that they will not be able to meet the new expectations.
  3. Lack of understanding: Employees may not fully understand Agile and its benefits. They may be skeptical about its applicability to their role or may not see how it can improve their current processes.
  4. Cultural barriers: Depending on the company culture, employees may be resistant to Agile practices that challenge traditional ways of working. They may be concerned about how their colleagues or managers will react to the changes or may not feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns.
  5. Resistance to change: Employees may be resistant to change and may prefer to stick with familiar processes and routines. They may be comfortable with the current way of working and may not see the need for change. Similar to managers, some employees may be resistant to change and may prefer to stick with the familiar way of working. They may be concerned about the impact on their productivity or may not see the value in adopting Agile practices.
  6. Resistance to changes in team dynamics: Employees may be comfortable with the current team dynamics and may not want to change the way they work with their colleagues. They may be concerned about losing their autonomy or their role in the team.
  7. Resistance to new tools or technologies: Employees may be resistant to adopting new tools or technologies that come with Agile. They may be comfortable with their current tools and may not see the need to switch to new ones.
  8. Lack of buy-in: Employees may not fully understand the benefits of Agile or may not believe that it will improve their work environment or productivity. They may be skeptical about the new processes and may not trust that Agile will be successful. Employees may not have the necessary training or support to effectively adopt Agile practices. They may be unsure of how to implement Agile practices or may not feel confident in their ability to work in an Agile environment.
  9. Concerns about workload: Employees may be concerned about increased workload or additional responsibilities that may come with Agile. They may feel overwhelmed by the change or may not be prepared to take on new tasks.
  10. Communication breakdown: Employees may not feel included in the transformation process or may not receive adequate communication and support from management. They may feel disconnected from the change and may not understand their role in the new way of working.
  11. Perceived threat to job security: Employees may be concerned that Agile will lead to job loss or a reduction in their responsibilities. They may be worried that they will not have a clear role in the new way of working or that they will not be able to meet the new expectations.

Employees resistance expression

Employees may show resistance to an Agile transformation in a variety of ways. Here are some examples of actions that employees may undertake to resist an Agile transformation:

  1. Refusing to participate in Agile practices: Employees may resist Agile practices by ignoring or pushing back on them. For example, they may not attend Agile ceremonies or may refuse to adopt Agile practices like test-driven development.
  2. Undermining the Agile transformation: Employees may undermine the Agile transformation by criticizing or questioning its value, or by not providing adequate support or resources to the transformation team. They may also discourage team members from embracing Agile practices.
  3. Refusing to take on new responsibilities: Employees may resist Agile by refusing to take on new responsibilities or tasks, or may not feel prepared to take on new roles in an Agile environment.
  4. They may be concerned about workload.
  5. Resisting changes to existing processes: Employees may resist changes to existing processes and may be reluctant to adapt to new ways of working. For example, they may be hesitant to adopt new tools or technologies or may resist changes to how work is prioritized and managed.
  6. Lack of engagement and participation: Employees may not engage or participate in Agile practices or ceremonies. They may not feel included in the transformation process or may not understand their role in an Agile environment.

Overcoming employees resistance

There are several ways a consultant can overcome the obstacles of leading an Agile transformation in a company that has already undergone two previous transformations. Here are some strategies. To deal with the resistance from employees, it’s important to

  1. involve them in the transformation process and
  2. engage with them to understand and address their concerns and objections. The consultants can
  3. help employees understand the benefits of Agile and how it can improve their work environment and productivity. They can
  4. work with employees to develop a shared vision for the transformation and
  5. provide training and coaching to help them adapt to the new way of working. Additionally, the consultant can
  6. help employees understand their new role in an Agile environment and work with them to
  7. build trust and collaboration with their team members. It’s also important to
  8. provide ongoing support and communication throughout the transformation to ensure that employees feel heard and supported. The consultant can
  9. work with the transformation team to create a feedback loop,
  10. provide them with opportunities to express their opinions, share their concerns and ideas, and contribute to the design and implementation of Agile approaches. This can
  11. help build a sense of ownership and commitment to the transformation among employees. Finally, it’s important to
  12. celebrate successes and recognize the contributions of employees throughout the transformation process. This can help
  13. build a sense of momentum and motivation to continue embracing Agile practices.

Ultimately,

the key to overcoming resistance to an Agile transformation is to build trust and collaboration among team members by involving employees in the transformation process.

Consultants can play an important role in this process by providing expertise, guidance, and support to help employees navigate the challenges of change. The consultant should also be highly skilled in Agile and change management, communication, leadership, and be able to communicate the benefits of Agile in a way that resonates with the team members.

We do Agile transformations → www.k595.online

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