How to Recognize and Overcome Change Fatigue
Digital transformation is the term that describes the rapid-fire changes you and your teams have put in place since early 2020. And while change is generally considered a good thing – words like innovation, growth, and opportunity come to mind – every change takes time and effort to successfully implement. 2021 was another year of drastic change, and you’re likely feeling the pressure to just keep going, but you and your employees have been through a lot. Change fatigue affects us all at some point, and IT-based change fatigue can spread quickly through your ranks. Do you know how to recognize it? Do you have strategies in place to help overcome change fatigue?
What is Change Fatigue?
Change fatigue is the resistance or passive resignation to organizational changes from the employee’s perspective. These feelings are commonly referred to as burnout: your employees are burnt out trying to keep up with all the changes coming down the pipeline, and Gartner Vice President Jessica Knight says the amount of change the average employee can absorb without becoming fatigued was half in 2020 what it was the year before. And 2021 brought its own challenges and change agenda.
And change fatigue isn’t simply an occasional organizational problem when lots of big changes happen all at once, though that certainly exacerbates the problem. Change fatigue can also stem from the ripples caused by multiple small changes. For example, we see this frequently when IT departments increase security parameters, like setting up multi-factor authentication on devices, apps, or networks.
Recognizing Change Fatigue
Change fatigue looks different at the individual, project, and organizational levels, says Blueprint. At the project level, you’ll find that the change projects are more difficult to manage and those taking part in that change project are not recognizing the benefits this change will have for the team. At the organization level, you will see trends of high employee turnover and general problems with company morale.
On an individual level, change fatigue can manifest in many ways, including more frequent or louder complaints about the latest round of changes, less engagement (fewer employees asking questions and communicating their perspectives), burnout, stress, more pushback when it comes to implementing another change, and increased feelings and comments expressing negativity, cynicism, and skepticism.
Tips for Overcoming Change Fatigue
Trust and team cohesion are two of the most important differentiators when it comes to combatting and overcoming change fatigue. Your teams need to strongly believe that you and other company leaders have their best interests in mind. Building trust often comes with open lines of communication: when someone believes they are being heard, they are more likely to be receptive when you have something to say as well. And the best teams work cohesively and share a sense of belonging as they work toward a common purpose or goal.
Proactive solutions are most effective as you search for the best methods of overcoming change fatigue. One of the best ways to predict and monitor change fatigue in your teams is to assess and measure the number and scale of the changes you are implementing, as well as how they affect employees in different teams and roles. You can start that assessment by gathering feedback from your employees as the rounds of change affect their workflow and activities. The coronavirus pandemic has severely decreased the amount of change employees are able to handle right now, and that means your changes have to have more benefits and fewer user hurdles and issues to work through.
Fight Change Fatigue with Verve IT
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