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Organisations need to work harder at bringing on change, and they will need their workforces to be clued in and signed up at all times. Anything less than that is a recipe for change fatigue. Image Credit: Pexels

Change has become the constant in a fast-paced world, affecting organisations and employees alike. However, a recent study suggests that the workforce is experiencing a phenomenon known as ‘change fatigue’.

While the impact on engagement remains relatively manageable for now, there are concerns about its long-term sustainability as turbulent times persist.

Change fatigue refers to the cumulative effect of continuous change initiatives within an organisation, leading to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion among employees. As companies strive to adapt to evolving market dynamics and tech advancements, employees may find themselves overwhelmed by a seemingly never-ending cycle of transformations.

This exhaustion can erode morale, productivity, and ultimately, employee engagement.

Current impact on engagement:

According to a study (based on HR and L&D employees across various UAE industries) by Biz Group, in conjunction with Podium, the impact of change fatigue on employee engagement is currently deemed manageable. While the workforce may experience fatigue from constant change, their overall level of engagement remains relatively unaffected.

This finding suggests that employees are still able to navigate the challenges presented by organisational changes without a significant decline in motivation or commitment.

However, the study also raises an important question: can engagement sustain if change fatigue persists or increases? With the world becoming increasingly turbulent and unpredictable, organisations must carefully consider the long-term implications of sustained change fatigue on their workforce.

As the burden of change continues to mount, it becomes crucial to evaluate the threshold beyond which employee engagement might be severely impacted.

Importance of addressing change fatigue

Engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile, exhibit higher levels of creativity and innovation, and contribute to a positive work culture. However, if change fatigue remains unaddressed, organisations risk losing the benefits associated with employee engagement, leading to decreased productivity and potentially higher turnover rates.”

To combat change fatigue and its potential negative impact on engagement, organisations can implement several strategies:

  1. Transparent communication: Open and honest communication about the reasons and goals behind organisational changes can help employees understand and accept the need for continuous adaptation.
  2. Supportive leadership: Effective leaders play a crucial role in guiding employees through periods of change. By providing support, empathy, and resources, leaders can help alleviate the stress and uncertainty associated with change.
  3. Employee involvement: Actively involving employees in the change process empowers them to contribute ideas and solutions, fostering a sense of ownership and reducing feelings of fatigue.
  4. Training and development: Offering training programs and resources that enhance employees’ skills and abilities can build resilience and equip them to navigate change more effectively.

While change fatigue is currently manageable, organisations should remain vigilant about its potential long-term impact on employee engagement. Whilst individual responses across multiple industries was valuable for this survey, the overall picture of change fatigue within a team, department or across an organisation as a whole will be more insightful.

Utilising data driven solutions such as Microsoft Viva Insights can help discover employee productivity and wellbeing experiences in the flow of work, and provide personalised recommendations to help employees do their best work.

Business outcomes can be improved with actionable insights, by gaining visibility into workplace activities, communication behaviours and collaboration patterns to streamline decision-making and improve business performance.

Suggested practical solutions through mastering the ways of working are:

  • Driving Performance with Viva goals and OKRs.
  • Manager effectiveness through coaching.
  • Mastering productivity for employee wellbeing

By proactively addressing change fatigue through transparent communication, supportive leadership, employee involvement, and ongoing development opportunities, companies can increase the likelihood of sustaining high levels of engagement amidst turbulent times.

Investing in the well-being and resilience of their workforce is a key step towards building a thriving and adaptable organisation in an ever-changing world.