As organizations continue to refine hybrid ways of working and respond to the urgent need to digitalize while also facing inflation, a talent shortage, and supply chain constraints, business transformation will remain at the forefront after COVID-19. Organizations are still confronted with unprecedented challenges and opportunities in the post-pandemic era, and in order to survive and thrive, they must adapt quickly and effectively to the changing environment. The circumstances, which require higher levels of productivity and performance, also mean a lot of change.
According to a report, the average employee will experience 10 planned enterprise changes in 2022, including restructuring for efficiencies, transforming a company’s culture to unlock new ways of working, and replacing legacy systems. While change is unavoidable, it can be stressful and exhausting for employees. According to a survey, employees’ willingness to support enterprise change has dropped from 74% in 2016 to 43% in 2022. Employees are losing patience with change initiatives and may resist or disengage from them as a result. Continue reading to find out why employees are losing patience with change initiatives.
The reasons employees are losing patience with change initiatives
Change is unavoidable in any workplace, but it appears that employees are losing patience with change initiatives. Although the reasons vary, some common themes have emerged, which we will discuss further below.
- Change Fatigue:
In addition to being emotionally and physically exhausting, change fatigue can manifest as cynicism, apathy, frustration, anxiety, or burnout. Change fatigue can impair employees’ ability to cope with change, reduce their productivity and creativity, and increase their intention to leave. To prevent and manage it, leaders and managers should prioritize change initiatives, showing employees where to focus their efforts.
They should also include proactive rest periods, involve employees in change plans, and challenge managers to help build team resilience. Some actions that can reduce the risk of change fatigue include scheduling proactive rest periods to sustain change energy, shifting away from a top-down approach and open-sourcing your change plans, and reimagining the role of managers in change.
- Change readiness:
Employee change readiness refers to their willingness and ability to embrace change, and in today’s ever-changing business landscape, change readiness is a critical trait for businesses to have. Being adaptable and willing to pivot at any time can mean the difference between success and failure. A formative approach to change readiness entails viewing it as a process of continuous improvement.
Employees’ personalities, values, beliefs, skills, knowledge, and resources are all factors that can be influenced. To improve change readiness, leaders and managers can communicate the vision and benefits of change, provide adequate support and training, address employees’ concerns and emotions, and recognize and reward employees’ efforts.
- Change leadership:
Change leadership is the ability to inspire and influence others to achieve a common goal during change. Leaders communicate their backlog of priorities, including change initiatives, to their employees so they know where to invest their energy. Employees are more likely to give 110% for each change if such guidance is not provided, resulting in a blowout.
Many leadership teams already rank the most important organizational projects and initiatives, but this knowledge is not often shared outside of leadership team discussions, and communicating this more broadly can help teams manage their energy and efforts more effectively. Leaders must assess their own strengths and weaknesses, seek feedback from others, learn from best practices, and seek coaching or mentoring to develop change leadership.
Change is unavoidable, but it does not have to be intolerable. Leaders and managers can take proactive steps to address the causes and consequences of employees’ loss of patience with change initiatives in order to improve their engagement and performance. When they do all this, they can achieve their organizational goals and also create a positive work environment for their employees. Leaders can also find solutions for change initiatives, fatigue, readiness, and leadership as employees lose patience.