Change has always been a constant in our lives. For example, technology has changed dramatically in the last few decades, and we have had to adapt. Some people find embracing change easier than others, who need more time to get their heads around it. When there are too many changes and too much uncertainty at work and coworkers feel they can’t catch up, they become demoralized, frustrated, and burned out. Therefore, organizational change fatigue sets in. How do you overcome it?
“Change is a normal part of our lives, but it’s uncomfortable for the vast majority of people because it makes them feel like they’ve lost control. Do you remember a time when you felt like things were being done to you that you had no control over? That’s how they may feel now. In every way you can, let them know that you can relate to that.” – Mary Jo Asmus (speaker, facilitator, and executive coach)
First, Recognize Change Fatigue
As a manager, you need to know when work is taking a physical and mental toll on your team, so you can help them to overcome fatigue. Otherwise, the consequences can be dire for the organization, as people become less productive, demoralized, and even quit their jobs. As a result, productivity and the bottom line suffer.
These are the signs you should look for:
- Growing complaints.
- Increasing indifference, even disengagement.
- Physical and mental exhaustion.
- Stress and anxiety.
- Open opposition to changes.
- Negative attitudes and behavior.
- Growing doubts.
Recognize to Overcome
According to a Capterra survey, 71% of employees said that they were overwhelmed at work. Ideally, you would catch change fatigue early to stave off its negative consequences on your team, the project, and your company. In order to reduce the risk of fatigue, managers must build trust and team cohesion. In a cohesive team, all members feel a sense of belonging, commitment, and accountability, which can help increase change capacity, as does trust in leaders.
If it’s too late and change fatigue has set in, there are a few steps you can follow to help your team embrace change and navigate uncertainty. And remember that there are no quick fixes.
Start by gathering feedback and conducting satisfaction surveys to gauge the level of perceived change and how employees are reacting to it, including negative feelings and fatigue. Their answers will also help you measure the impact of change on individuals and teams.
Also, building change resilience is an effective way of helping team members embrace and cope with change within the organization. Discuss techniques for managing stress, and even bring in a professional who can help, like a wellness coach. Similarly, adopt the three A’s: Anticipate (prepare to tackle challenges and opportunities), Adapt (empower the teams to collaborate in new and different ways), and Assess (reflect on progress to learn and evolve).
Lastly, open and timely communication is vital to reduce the negative impact of change on team members. For instance, announcing big changes early enough to give time for employees to prepare mentally and be ready when the time comes. Remember to check in with your employees both on a personal and professional level. They will feel heard and looked after.
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