go back

How to Overcome Enterprise Change Fatigue

We all know the feeling when changes in work are suddenly dropped on us without sufficient explanations regarding the overall goals of management. These changes are particularly difficult when they bring on significant changes in our work day routine. Too often in these situations, employees lose motivation and dedication to the company and manager.   

A colleague of mine who used to work in a mid-size hi-tech company told me that “re-orgs” seemed to happen every few months – often contradicting or undoing the previous one entirely. Employees simply lost faith that a re-org could truly make positive changes.

When this phenomenon strikes large-scale organizations, its impact is much more severe as the employees are typically more disconnected from the company than in smaller organizations. Remedies for this sickness are massive efforts and often need to come from Human Resources or from other directions.

The larger organization, the more the dissonance is magnified and enterprise change fatigue is one of the mostcommon occurrences. It goes without saying that the larger the enterprise, the greater the complexity and the chances of enterprise change fatigue are exponential.

Employee attrition is common after widespread changes when the communication regarding the fundamental reasoning behind the changes is weak. This syndrome is a symptom of another common enterprise phenomenon: Failure in executing enterprise strategy.

The Enterprise Connection: Change Fatigue and Strategy Execution – Where are the Weak Links

  • An overwhelming frequency of changes – in an article published by McKinsey&Company, the authors suggest that the reason the pharmaceutical industry is suffering the most from change fatigue, is the high frequency of internal and external changes which have occurred over the last decade. Outside regulation and technology advancements have taken their toll in a very negative way.

While changes are naturally part of a larger strategic plan, it’s critical to communicate this linkage, reinforced by explanations and expectations of specific results. In addition, the strategic goals need to be broken down to smaller pieces. Goals which stay on the grandiose level cause people to miss the connection with their jobs. This problem only adds to the possibility of failure of strategy execution.

  • Employees are reluctant of change – Employees lose faith in the entire change process and begin to address any planned change in a pessimistic way. Part of the remedy would be to communicate to employees as valuable key players in the decision-making process. Work flows only of the “top down” direction have limited value. If you want to achieve significant results, you need to work “bottom up” as well.

Working “bottom-up” should also result in empowering employees and assist them in feeling part of an enterprise, and not just following orders.

  • Poor management and inaccurate prioritization of changes – Very often, we see that even in cases in which the strategy was clearly outline, goal setting is set on a reward-based process, lacking the fundamental change management basics.

Change management is a key factor in change implementation, and absolutely vital for preventing these effects to become prevalent in a company and the driver of employee attrition.

This article “A way to assess any prioritize your change efforts” is a great place to start. In a nutshell, change management is the art of managing changes in our ever-changing enterprise business world.

  • Communication and collaboration simply don’t exist – When you think about it, if your employees don’t know what is expected of them, or more importantly, don’t know what to expect once changes are put into place, how could you expect them to cooperate?

An enterprise software solution can help you to control the change management aspect of your business via clear definition of strategic goals broken down to assigned tasks. In this blog, I only began to present you of all the causes for these sypmtoms and the ways to overcome them.  I would like to mention that while it is might be possible to bridge thestrategy execution gap without any enterprise software solution, it is going to be a bumpy road as far as time and cost effectiveness.  If you’ve had any success or failure with Enterprise Change Fatigue, I’d love to hear about them.