Change Fatigue

Not every change is an improvementbut every improvement is a change” – Eliezer Yudofsky.

Many of my clients are currently supporting their teams to manage expectations and anxiety about returning to work.

Feelings are mixed, some people are chomping at the bit, desperate to reclaim some semblance of order to their working life, whilst others are reticent, if not resistant to further change; having carved out an acceptable work life balance for themselves and their family and who can blame them?

Most organisations are in favour of introducing a hybrid way of working, others are insisting that everyone come back to the office full time, whilst some occupations do not have the luxury of choice.

Navigating life in a world where the only certainty is uncertainty has forced us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, whilst reimagining and repurposing our lives beyond recognition, and it’s exhausting!

To put it frankly, people are suffering from ‘Change Fatigue’ both on a personal and organisational level, and yes ‘Change Fatigue’ is a real thing!

Often businesses become fixated on the detail when implementing change in the workplace, which is why it is important to remember that the past 18 months has taken its toll on the nations mental health.

A recent poll run by YouGov for the BBC, https://tinyurl.com/uxmnwu68 found the following:

  • A total of 70% of 1,684 people polled predicted that workers would “never return to offices at the same rate”.
  • The majority of workers said that they would prefer to work from home either full-time or at least some of the time.
  • Half of 530 senior leaders also surveyed said that workers staying at home would adversely affect both creativity and collaboration – against just 38% of ordinary people.

So, how can you support your employees to navigate change fatigue, and create stability and unity when everyone returns to the office:

LISTEN

  • First and foremost, it’s important to remember that change is emotional and unsettling.  As human beings we are hardwired to defend and protect whatever provides us with stability and comfort. 
  • Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that you know what your employees want instead, try to understand what your teams need.
  • Avoid presenting your teams with a fait accompli, consult and gather feedback so you can understand the collective and individual concerns of your teams
  • Provide a safe space for employees to give feedback/express their concerns without recrimination.  Remember the end of furlough and the current economic climate is creating anxiety resulting in employees feeling that they need to be compliant, or risk lose their jobs.

TRANSPARENCY

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate; – set out your vision for change in the workplace, with the caveat that you want your employees to engage with and play an active part in the process.
  • Ensure that your teams understand the why behind the proposed new working arrangements
  • Evaluate and recalibrate; – change is a continuum and the direction of travel may well alter, especially in these uncertain times.  Be sure to communicate that nothing is set in stone and that you are open to making adjustments to ensure that the proposed change works for everyone.

CELEBRATE

  • Find ways to celebrate the hard work and resilience of your teams during lockdown.
  • Create opportunities for your teams to reconnect by suggesting that the whole team come into the office on the same day at least twice a month.
  • Organise an away day for the team that allows your teams to reflect, reset and celebrate their successes.  This will help to restore harmony and hope for the future of the team and the business.

The Colour of Power

The importance of diversity in the workplace

by Grace Reid

The year 2020 will be remembered for a global pandemic that disproportionately impacted the lives of ethnic minorities and for the expression of universal outrage at the murder of George Floyd, which sparked racial unrest across the globe but also prompted a much-needed dialogue about racial discrimination.

For several weeks, the outrage seemed ubiquitous: social media was awash with black squares, young and old alike took to streets to protest against racial inequalities, and even big brands populated their websites with stock images of people of colour promising change and swearing allegiance to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

There was much heady talk of a “watershed moment”, a “new dawn” in race relations, and perhaps for the first time in decades, hope that real change was possible.

Yet, the latest data from the Colour of Power index published online makes for sober reading, and it is clear that a herculean approach will be needed if such a hope is to become a reality.

As a black female member of British society this is of personal concern, and these recent events have caused me to reflect on my own experiences of discrimination.

This is an age where brands are being judged not by what they say but by what they do.

Sadly, in my previous roles in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, it must be said that despite having earnt the right to a seat at the table, to express my views and to give the benefit of my experience, I often felt as if I was not a fully paid-up member of the tribe.  

Over my career, I can recall several instances where in leadership roles I was unduly questioned on my credentials and experience, asked about my heritage, or mistaken for being a junior or even part of the hospitality team. Indeed, it was largely because of this that I decided to become the master of my own destiny and set up my own business.

Microaggressions aside, we cannot let this moment pass us by. Yes, there is a huge problem, but we have been provided with a golden opportunity to change the narrative and recalibrate the balance of power by creating truly inclusive working environments where employees are not just part of the conversation, but integral to the solution.

This is an age where brands are being judged not by what they say but by what they do. Moreover, diversity in the workplace makes good economic sense: failure to take action will result in businesses missing out on attracting the next generation of up-and-coming talent that could breathe new life into their organisations. 

As the smart money knows, diverse teams are innovative teams – they think more creatively, perform better financially and make smarter decisions.


this article by Grace Reid was published in the Perspective Magazine please click on the following link – The colour of powerPerspective Magazine