Help your team manage change fatigue
Change is all around us. And sometimes it happens quickly — without regard for our mental well-being.
This can be exhausting not just for you, but especially for your employees.
Because change fatigue has the potential to impact your staff and their performance, it’s important to learn the appropriate steps to help employees address it.
Signs of change fatigue
When your employees seem stressed or engagement has dipped, the cause may not be readily apparent. It could be personal factors weighing on employees. It could be a difficult supervisor. Or, it could be change fatigue.
Here are a few things you may begin to notice when your team members are exhausted from change:
- A large sense of skepticism during conversations regarding your change initiatives
- Continued questioning of your senior leaders’ intentions
- Overall distrust of your change management team
If you notice these reactions when you are speaking with your employees, you can pick up on change fatigue early and address it fast.
When left unaddressed, however, change fatigue can:
- Spread quickly to other team members
- Create a toxic work environment
- Result in losing people
How to defeat change fatigue
As a leader, here’s how you can assist your team members who are stressed about change.
- Talk to them and address their feelings. Let your team know that you understand how hard change can be. Then, point them toward the desired goal, and help them imagine that future state through a positive lens. Also, it’s a good idea to remind them about what is not changing. This can help to keep the perspective that “everything” is not changing.
- Celebrate small victories. Reinforcing even the smallest win goes a long way in helping employees deal with change. Acknowledge employees when they’re on track with their work and attitude, encouraging them to keep the good momentum going.
- Recognize contributions. It can help when you highlight employees’ contributions and the important role their feedback can play as you implement change. Explain that you consider them to be key stakeholders and that your decision-making is influenced by their insights.
When you make them feel a part of the planning (and not just the implementation) process, your team members gain a greater sense of ownership and may reengage as a result.
Ways to prevent change fatigue
Here are some methods you can use to put a stop to change fatigue before it starts.
Manage the pace of change
Taking a phased approach allows your team members to rest when facing changes, and it could help ward off exhaustion.
You should also build in scheduled breathers within each phase of your change plan to help prevent burnout (e.g., a day of the week where change projects are set aside and regular responsibilities are tended to).
Commit to explaining change plans as soon as possible. Your team should know:
- What’s being planned and why
- Who is impacted by this change
- When it will happen
- What they can expect
This way, you can help address employees’ fears surrounding change, which are often based on unknowns that turn into change-related anxiety later on.
In addition, it’s a good idea to encourage feedback from employees throughout the process. Depending on the size of your organization, this could include company culture surveys, focus groups or meetings focused on gathering information from employees
Reinforce a culture of improvement and innovation
Organizations that build their cultures around the values of improvement and innovation tend to handle change well when it’s needed.
When employees come forward with ideas about improving processes, be open to them. Encourage their creativity to instill confidence in their ability to be transformative and to adapt quickly when needed.
Interested in learning more about how to enact changes that positively impact your business and boost employee wellness? Visit our blog. Questions? Comments? Email Insperity at email@example.com.
Adapted from the Insperity blog: How to help employees manage change fatigue