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Are your employees suffering from change fatigue?
Not familiar with the term “change fatigue?” I suppose that’s probably a good thing!
Maybe it’s happening, but you’re just not aware of it?
What is change fatigure?
According to Wikipedia:
Organizational change fatigue is a general sense of apathy or passive resignation towards organizational changes by individuals or teams. Organizational change efforts are all too often unfocused, uninspired, and unsuccessful. Research shows, 70 percent of transformation efforts fail, often caused by change fatigue.
Customer experience management is all about change management; that also means that it’s all about change. At least that’s what your customers are hoping for.
You’ve listened to customers. You’ve mapped their journeys. And you’ve found a lot of improvements to be made. The problem is, these improvements need to be added to a master list of projects and initiatives underway at the company, initiatives to improve the employee experience, the customer experience, your processes, your policies, your benefits, the workplace, your accreditations, your award standings, and whatever else change initiatives you’ve got underway.
There’s no shortage, and not every change initiative impacts everyone in the company. But everyone knows about them. They hear about them. And they know that many of the initiatives are either a waste of time or will just simply fail. Why? Been there, done that.
Where does change fatigue come into the picture? Well, with the “been there, done that” experience and attitude, for starters. Especially when change initiatives constantly fail, there’s this sense that each initiative is a “flavor of the month.”
Why does change fatigue happen? For a variety of reasons.
- There’s a non-stop flow of change initiatives.
- Many of them are flavors of the month or reactionary, with no thought given to long-term strategy and goals.
- Each one requires employees to do more work – work they view as superfluous – on top of their already hectic workloads.
- Many initiatives don’t have clear owners, objectives, or outcomes.
- Or the importance, purpose, and outcomes are not clearly communicated to the team or to all employees.
- But, the change is all you talk about.
How do you know change fatigue has set in?
- Employees are skeptical when any new initiative is introduced.
- They no longer volunteer to help, participate, or be part of a change project team.
- They view that as a waste of time.
- Employees watch from the side lines, snickering that this is just another flavor of the month.
- For those who chose to participate, they lose interest and no longer pay attention or actively engage in their piece of the work.
- They’ve lost sight of the end game, the outcomes, the reason for the change.
- Executives start to shift budget and resources to other initiatives.
- Employees leave the company; too much change creates havoc and uncertainty.
How can you mitigate the fatigue?
- Talk about it, just not all the time. Be transparent. Convey important information. And then let the work get done.
- Celebrate successes along the way so that people know that real change is happening and having a positive impact.
- Revisit objectives and desired outcomes to make sure everything is still on track.
- Remind those involved about the end game and its benefits.
- Chunk up the change into major milestones. Work toward the milestones and then celebrate reaching each one.
- Swap out the teams. Bring in new people, if needed.
- Offer incentives for staying with the plan. Nothing perks up a tired team than money or some other incentive.
- Listen to customers again. Map customer journeys. Remind everyone why change is happening and who it impacts. Tell the story.
There are more things you can do, for sure. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. But, as customer experience professionals, we know that our work is not done until change has happened. So we need to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Help keep teams energized and remind them of why they’re doing what they’re doing. And celebrate the quick wins and the big milestones along the way.
And it doesn’t hurt to have a CEO cheerleader.
We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing. -Konstantin Jireček