When Change Is A constant People Get Tired
Tired people do not function as well as they, or their leaders would like.
The phrase that has been coined for this is change fatigue and it has been happening because there has been so much change in organisations. New technology, new systems, new processes, new structures and the list goes on.
An article in HC magazine talks of resilience and how training and HR can help http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/how-hr-can-help-workers-cope-with-change-fatigue-231810.aspx
It’s an article about resilience and resilience training.
Interesting how Simon Sinek (who I heard speak at an event last week) mentioned about the lack of resilience in younger generations and I think we have an issue that is only going to grow in importance.
My top tips for managing and handling change fatigue are:
1. Look after baseline stress and health. When you are feeling good in yourself your ability to cope with change and stress is at its peak.
If you have been juggling a lot of things and then one more is added, this is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back
(This is about overall well being)
2. remind people of the things that they have done well in the past and how those things contribute to them doing the next/new thing well.
Sometimes change fatigue is related to the self talk more than to the scale of the change itself. When people believe that this change is only a small logical step from the one before then their response is less likely to be traumatic. (I know this isn’t always the situation – some change is really big)
3. Think carefully about what you say and when you say it. A change that is mentioned months in advance of it being implemented can become stressful because the fact that it was mentioned so early implies that it is going to be a huge change.
If in doubt, consider getting some brief advice from a change management consultant or expert. Their guidance may be invaluable to you and your team.
Mental health is A Key Factor Of Healthy Workplaces
Following on from change fatigue is the logical theme about mental health.
Another article from HC Magazine http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/discrimination-and-mental-illness–what-you-need-to-know-232185.aspx outlines 6 golden rules for dealing with workplace disciplinary law to workers who may have mental illness.
Why do I mention this guideline now?
Think about what happens when an employee resists change and is unable or unwilling to implement changes? Perhaps the person refuses to use a new computer system. This leads to errors and problems in the business which triggers disciplinary action.
The question becomes what is the cause of the bad behaviour or poor performance. Is it mental health or is it attitude and will. That’s the complexity facing employers.
The cross over between mental health and performance makes the area troublesome to manage as an employer may be accused of breaching not only the Fair Work Act but also Anti Discrimination legislation.
The 6 points in the article are quite good guidance as well.
What should you do?
1. Have a calm and open conversation with the employee. Find out what support they need from you to help them achieve what is expected – this will tell you if it is an attitude or a skill problem
2. Make sure you know about the support available such as Employee Assistance Program
3. Keep in mind that for many people, change is intimidating and makes what was familiar now unfamiliar and risky. In many instances people just want to be reassured that their skills and they are still valued, despite the changes going on around them.
If meetimgs create stress and pressure, then why have them?
The final piece this week comes from Aberdeen Essentials – another of my favourite subscriptions – and canvasses how to increase productivity by having fewer meetings.
One company I worked with was renowned for having almost back to back meetings from 9 am to 4 pm and the expectation was that actual work would be done outside those hours. After attending one meeting that had no agenda, 8 people in the room, and which bored me almost to death I asked a colleague why I and others needed to be in the meeting.
His response astounded me – “It’s not about the meeting, it’s about who you bump into in the corridors on the way to and from the meeting”
Networking and relationships were very important to him and he, somewhat rightly, saying that it is the getting around that is needed rather than meetings. I would have preferred the approach in the article where the meetings are also cut!
Here are my 3 comments on this approach
1. Every meeting should have an agenda and action items that are followed up. If this is not the case then why does the meeting need to be held at all?
2. Ongoing regular and informal on time feedback is far more powerful than the few times a year, formal structured meeting.
3. Productivity is more than presence – it is about getting the right things done.
When you are focusing on productivity it’s important to focus on what needs to be done and engage people in how best to do that.
Allow individuals to leverage and exercise their own strengths. That way you’ll see the best out of them and get greater results.