Change fatigue is becoming a serious threat to the mental health of employees as businesses adjust to the shifting priorities for the new normal. Change fatigue is the feelings of apathy employees get, regarding changes undertaken by their company.
Regardless of where a business is on its digital transformation journey, change weariness is a common stumbling block that can stifle or even halt development. Teams are typically worn out by workflow disruptions, process changes, and new technology learning curves, which lead to change fatigue. Employee apathy, perplexity, dissatisfaction, and stress are common manifestations in the workplace. Passive resignation, however, is the most detrimental to transformation since it can break up teams and lower trust levels between employees and management.
Employees may be resistant to change for a variety of reasons. An unwillingness to commit can add to the exhaustion felt by the entire organization, whether they are afraid that promised outcomes will not be met or their long employment with the company has fostered an “if it is not broken, don’t change it” mentality.
If a company suspects its employees are suffering from change fatigue, it should consider the following three options to alleviate the problem:
Implement a bottom-up strategy
Businesses should try to enable teams at all levels to contribute to the innovation process rather than having a hierarchical structure.
Although every phase of the transformation journey cannot be led from the bottom up, organizations can increase employee buy-in by cultivating a culture of mutual respect. Companies should treat employees like adults, trusting that because they recruited them, they have the abilities to overcome challenges and meet expectations in the face of change.
Employees will be less resistant to change if the plan is more inclusive. Businesses build a track record of favorable decisions by following through on commitments, decreasing decision-making risk, and developing employee trust, ensuring stronger buy-in the next time.
Maintain an open-door policy and follow through on it
As a company grows, it’s critical to maintain an open discussion about what has changed, what is coming up, and where friction exists in the new processes. Businesses should make it clear that, as a leader and change agent, they embrace both positive and negative feedback from their employees.
Employees can connect one-on-one during office hours, and this not only allows them to be heard but also prevents frequent interruptions that might disrupt workflow. Furthermore, setting aside time for digital transformation discussions eliminates any fear of knocking on the office door. An open line of communication will make it easier for team leaders who are significantly impacted by the change to make decisions knowing that they are informed. Transparency helps employees develop a working schedule in the face of frequent change by reducing ambiguity around project milestones.
Using video conferencing software, office hours can be adjusted for remote, hybrid, and in-person teams.
Focus on the employee experience in a proactive manner
Businesses should collaborate with their executive team to build the optimal employee experience with employee input. What is the typical amount of stress during a workweek? What methods do teams use to communicate? What does a good work-life balance entail?
When firms know what they want to achieve, they can work backward to develop solutions that deliver that experience. Employees should be encouraged to use their extra day off to be more mindful of their time and participate in activities that contribute to the impact of the other four workdays.