Written by Cathy McCosker | 2nd May 2024

As businesses continue to cope with the cost of living, an ongoing talent shortage, different ways of working, and restructures and redundancies, employees can be experiencing a lot of change.

As a result, your employees could seem ‘change fatigued’ – visibly tired and anxious about changes, they may resist change or completely disengage and stop asking questions.

Because change fatigue has the potential to impact your staff and their performance, it’s important for employers to proactively plan how to support their employees through change.

Here are four ways you can reduce the risk of change fatigue and support your workforce when facing change.

Create a resilient workforce

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenges and recover quickly from any difficulties that occur. Having a resilient workforce benefits your business in so many ways, not least of all by helping your people feel more motivated, they are less daunted by and better able to deal with change and are less susceptible to burnout. It also improves employees’ health, as resilience and wellbeing are closely linked. Employees who are healthy and feel supported are more resilient and better able to navigate change.

Pay attention to employee mental health and wellbeing, particularly during change. Check in regularly to understand any concerns and offer support. For example, if employees are worried about increased workloads when managing change projects, help them create project plans and agree realistic timescales and priorities, so they don’t become overwhelmed.

For more ideas on building resilience in the workplace see our blog here.

Communicate and involve employees in decisions

Employees are more likely to be accepting of change if they feel like they’re part of the decision-making process. So, including them from the get-go can help them understand the reasons for the change and reduce any resistance. Encouraging them to be involved and share their thoughts and ideas ensures the business has considered all options and viewpoints before embarking on a change programme, so brings real value all round.

Of course, not all workplace decisions can be made with their input, for example some promotions, restructures and redundancies, but employers can reduce the stress around change by communicating well, and as early as possible, and through the most appropriate means for the individual. This will avoid any rumours, confusion and potential setbacks before they become problematic.

Train your line managers

Don’t forget managers can be overwhelmed with change too. Global research by Gartner  revealed that 82% of HR leaders said their managers aren’t equipped to lead change.

Training such as our CPD-certified Managing Change course can give managers an understanding of the theory behind change management, coupled with practical tools to understand reactions to change, and support employees facing change.

Offering support to managers through periods of change helps them to learn from their experience, and develop confidence to lead future changes.

Recognise and reward team efforts

Feeling valued and recognised for the work they do is a key driver of employee engagement. It’s important for managers to thank their teams for their commitment and to celebrate their achievements – especially in the face of change.

Your people will feel motivated for the next challenge when they can see that you appreciate how they have coped with even the smallest change.

Change can be hard, and it’s likely your team will have mixed feelings about it. As a leader, the most important things you can do to increase resilience and reduce fatigue are to be mindful of individual needs and encourage a culture where employees feel they can discuss what they’re feeling.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how we can support you with change management, please get in touch with our team at [email protected]