- Phase 1, Denial. When people hear about a change, they may be in denial that it is happening and they may avoid addressing it.
- Phase 2, Resistance. People may resist the change at first, because it is an unknown and they would prefer things to stay the same. They may not a be a fan of the change, or they may believe things should change in an entirely different way. It’s natural to resist a sudden or large change, but unfortunately a change at work is often necessary and employees are required to deal with it when it happens.
- Phase 3, Exploration. Exploration happens when people acknowledge their hesitant feelings and accept that the change is in fact important and necessary—at least to the management, which is what matters. They realize there is nothing they can do about it, so they explore their own feelings about it to discover why they don’t want it to happen.
- Phase 4, Commitment. Once the person works through their feelings and accepts the change, they can then understand and commit to it.
When change happens, there are usually feelings of heightened stress, uncertainty, upheaval, and diminished productivity. As acceptance of the change takes place, employees gain their sense of direction, learn new skills and roles, and begin to work in a new way.