News: Psychologically safe workplaces slash change fatigue by 46%: Gartner


Psychologically safe workplaces slash change fatigue by 46%: Gartner

HR Leaders can reduce employee fatigue with proactive change management.
Psychologically safe workplaces slash change fatigue by 46%: Gartner

A psychologically safe workplace environment created by HR managers for employees can lead to up to a 46% reduction in change fatigue, according to Gartner, Inc.

The current impact of change fatigue can be felt across the board; employees who are change fatigued are less inclined to stay with their employer, have lower levels of trust, and are less willing to go above and beyond at work.

The concept of change fatigue is defined as negative employee responses to change, such as apathy, burnout, and frustration, that harm organisational outcomes. 

“Organisations can no longer afford to ignore change fatigue,” said Andy Karr, vice president during the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference. “In today’s workplace, employees now experience multiple, stacked changes that lead to burnout. Employees don’t get the opportunity to ‘recharge’ without intervention. To address these challenges, HR leaders should ensure change fatigue strategies are an inherent part of their change management plans.”

The Common Approach

Most organisations know that involving employees in change initiatives increases the likelihood of them being successful. Typically, this centers on empowering employees to co-create change decisions, own implementation planning, and talk openly about change.

“We know employee involvement strategies make change successful; the question is what strategies will make employee involvement more successful,” said Karr. “Simply involving employees in change efforts is necessary, but insufficient – organisations must provide those employees an environment of psychological safety if they want that involvement to be productive.”

Psychological Safety

There are two key components of psychological safety:

Safety to Experiment: Comfort in taking risks to accomplish team goals, even if it results in failure.

Safety to Challenge: Comfort pushing back against the status quo and contributing to transformation efforts.

To foster a culture where employees feel empowered to take risks, organisations should redefine well-intentioned experimental failures as valuable successes. These instances often yield valuable insights from hypothesis testing and exploration of new opportunities. Since change and uncertainty are interconnected, employees must actively engage in determining what works and what doesn't when implementing significant changes.

When employees are encouraged to question the status quo, these invaluable knowledge holders can assist leaders in adjusting their course when well-thought-out strategies clash with the practical realities of the job. Leaders require access to the most accurate information when making crucial decisions, and employees frequently serve as the primary source of such insights.

“To re-engage employees in change management efforts, organizations must align culture goals around psychological safety with their change management efforts,” added Karr.

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Topics: Culture

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