Every organisation undergoes a transformational change a number of times, as it is critical for organisations to reorganise and realign themselves to rapidly respond to technological changes and ever changing and increasing market demands. Strategy reviews also need to be conducted often to ensure that the organisation is still moving in the right direction, and that it is well structured and capacitated to do so. However, much as change is a necessary part of every organisation's growth, if too much of it is effected in a short space of time, or the results are hardly realised ~ organisations might find themselves having to manage change fatigue resulting from some of the above mentioned factors.
What causes organisational change fatigue?
Although change cannot be avoided, change fatigue can be. In conducting a thorough self evaluation and assessment of change readiness, organisations can proactively put measures and processes in place to ensure that it does not find itself and its employees struggling with change fatigue. Here are some of the causes of change fatigue that organisations need to guard against:
Too much change too soon
Much as change is healthy for any organisation to remain competitive and relevant, too much of it in a short space of time can be detrimental to the health and culture of the organisation. The impact of effecting major organisational changes too frequently is often seen in employees with a longer tenure. They often find themselves in a "not this again" or "we have seen this movie before" scenario. Although an organisation can rely on the "newer" members of the organisation to embrace and champion change, they will rarely succeed without the support and willingness of the "older" members of the organisation to embrace change. Whenever effecting transformational change, organisations need to be mindful of the impact excessive change can have on its employees, their productivity levels, and the overall culture of the organisation.
Lack of success from the changes
Almost half of change initiatives are reported to fail, and this can, in addition to other factors be attributed to organisations' failure to keep the momentum going. In keeping the momentum going, organisations ensure that their employees can participate in getting the desired results, and ensuring that they do actually benefit from those results. Initiating change initiatives but failing to achieve them often results in little or no faith towards future change initiatives and major resistance to change within the organisation. One of the CEO's from a major bank understood the importance of the organisation seeing and experiencing the successful implementation and results from changes initiatives in the organisation. One of the key points in initiating these changes, was to realign the organisation to "keep the momentum going". So yes, important to re-align, or reorganise but important that every member of the organisation is clear on what to do to keep the momentum going.
Poor change management processes
The importance of business transformation and transformational change initiatives cannot be stressed enough. Without transforming, organisations may not survive the rapidly changing environment. Although this is the case, an organisation cannot successfully transform without its employees on board. To get them onboard and aligned, an effective change management process needs to be implemented, constantly monitored and evaluated.
Preventing and Overcoming Change Fatigue
Better equip employees to adapt
Much as organisational agility is a key trait of organisations that have succeeded in responding or adapting to change, an organisation cannot be agile without an agile workforce. When initiating major organisational changes, open communication plays a key role in empowering employees to see change as a step forward, not only for the organisation but for them as well. Each member of the organisation needs to be able to know the WIIFM (What's In It For Me) factor for themselves. In enabling employees to see what's in it for them, this can change their attitude towards change, and to embrace it easier. Although the change is organisational, there is a relationship between the individual and the impact the organisation has on the individual and visa versa.
Deliver on the promises
Organisational strategies are formulated to ensure that the vision of the organisation is realised. They are often reviewed to do a health check and assess if the organisation is still steered towards the vision. To achieve all of this, once again change is necessary. What is key though with these change initiatives, is that the leadership of the organisations need to deliver on the "promise". To prevent resistance to future change initiatives, leaders need to ensure that the change initiatives succeed, and the benefits are realised.
Reminder of the "WHY"
Every member of the organisation needs to be frequently reminded of why the change was initiated, and what the organisation, as well as each individual stands to gain from the change. Constant communication about the "why" is critical throughout the change process, as it reminds every member of the organisation the purpose of the change, and ensures buy in and alignment.
Equip leaders to successfully drive change
Although there is emphasis on equipping employees to adapt to change in an effort to reduce the rate of resistance, the leaders of the organisation are no exception. They also need to be trained and skilled to better communicate and navigate change.
Change is certainly inevitable in any organisation. What determines an organisation's ability to succeed in any change initiative is its ability to align employees and leaders to the WHY of the change initiatives. Equally important is an organisation's ability to conduct a self-examination to determine their change readiness before embarking on major change initiatives.
Get in touch with us to find out more on how your organisation can overcome or even prevent change fatigue.