Four strategies to reduce the effects of change fatigue

Change fatigue occurs when individuals or organisations experience a high degree of stress and resistance in response to continuous or frequent changes. 

It’s a psychological and emotional state characterised by feelings of overwhelm, frustration, and weariness that result from the constant need to adapt to new circumstances, processes, or expectations. 

Change fatigue often presents itself during an organisational restructure or frequent leadership changes.  

Change fatigue can and should be managed to mitigate against the potential negative impacts such as decreased productivity and morale.  

The following are some strategies that can be implemented to reduce the effects of change fatigue.  

Change management plan  

Develop a comprehensive change management plan that outlines the steps and timeframes, tactics, roles, and responsibilities for managing the change.  

There are numerous change management frameworks and models that can and should inform your plan. For example, Kotter’s eight-steps for leading change, the Prosci ADKAR model and Lewin’s change management model 

Each have their merits and assist with guiding organisations and individuals through change in an understanding, supportive way, while minimising disruption and change fatigue.  

In developing your change management plan, consider allowing for periods of stability between major changes to help alleviate change fatigue and foster a more resilient and adaptable workforce. Ensure your implementation schedule prioritises changes and messages based on their significance to help reduce change fatigue.  

Communication and engagement 

Change communication is essential in helping individuals become aware of the change; understand what, why, how and when the change is happening; adjust to and accept the change; and ultimately, commit to it – adhering to new policies and behaviours accordingly.   

A change communication strategy helps you to define your communication goals and how you will achieve them through communication tactics and a thorough stakeholder engagement approach.  

Along with developing clear and consistent key messages and proof points that support your future-state goals, your strategy should include important tactics such as the implementation of anonymous feedback channels and meetings and workshops with affected stakeholders.  

Further to this, where possible, involve stakeholders in the change process. When people have a sense of ownership and input, they are more likely to feel engaged and invested in the change. 

Transparent, empathetic, consistent, timely communication and engagement is key during a change management process.  

Training and support  

When people feel confident in their abilities to navigate change, they are less likely to experience fatigue. Provide the necessary training, support and resources to empower stakeholders during change.  

This also includes access to counselling or an employee assistance or wellness programs – where possible – to ensure the overwhelming feelings often associated with change – such as stress, anger, loss and frustration – are properly acknowledged and resolved.   

Leaders play a critical role in setting the tone for change management. It’s vital that leaders demonstrate empathy, provide guidance, and lead by example during times of change.  

Provide closure  

As changes are implemented, provide closure for processes, projects, or initiatives that are being replaced. This can help individuals mentally transition and move forward more positively. 

A way to provide closure should also include recognising and celebrating achievements and milestones related to the changes. This can boost morale and provide a sense of progress, even in the middle of ongoing transformations. 

Connect with us 

Change fatigue is a natural reaction to constant change, but with strategic planning, communication, and support, it can be managed effectively, leading to smoother transitions and better overall outcomes. 

At Phillips Group, we partner with clients from the earliest planning stages to determine the most effective change communication strategy, tailored to the unique needs and parameters of the community or organisation they are working within. 

We are change communication specialists and look forward to working with you to drive successful transformative change. Connect with us today.