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Many organizations and employees are exhausted and tired of hearing about change. Some may even argue that their companies have seen enough change recently to last a decade. However, smart leaders understand that there is no rest for the weary and that constant change, which is a necessity for business success, is now the new norm.
While it’s no secret that businesses need to continually adapt and reinvent themselves at a much faster pace to stay relevant, that’s not the reality. According to Innosight’s 2021 Corporate Longevity Forecast, there is a continued long-term decline in corporate longevity. The average lifespan of S&P 500 companies from 30 to 35 years in the late 1970s declined to a forecast of 15 to 20 years in the decade ending in 2025.
While a 46% average decline in lifespan over 45 years for publicly traded companies does not bode well for some organizations, it helps underscore the crucial need for companies to be more nimble, adaptable and resilient for long-term success. Of course, many times this requires organizational transformations, which do not have a solid track record. In fact, 70% of transformation efforts fail, so companies need to develop better strategies to address change.
How do companies already facing change fatigue implement organizational changes that effectively address the needs of the company and its employees? Here are four tips for leaders to consider.
Related: 5 Principles for Coping with Constant Change
See the situation
Before any discussion related to organizational transformation takes place, business leaders should realistically view the situation they face through a people-centered lens. While most business leaders understand the change employees are experiencing due to the pandemic, they may not realize the scope.
According to a recent survey, 71% of employees say they are overwhelmed by the amount of change at work and 83% believe their employer has not provided enough tools or resources to help them adapt to change, fueling record levels of attrition that may lead to more resignations.
Employers should be reminded that under normal circumstances, employees are the most resistant to change, so they should tread lightly, take the pulse of their workforce and assess support mechanisms before making additional changes because employees only they have so much capacity for change. If more resources are needed, it’s a good idea to boost them before doing the next steps. Business leaders need the buy-in of their most valuable asset, their people, to implement more change. It is up to them to get the lay of the land and understand to what extent further changes can be made.
Determine your strategy
When talking about change, it can have negative connotations, especially given the unprecedented magnitude and pace at which recent changes have occurred. A shift in leadership thinking about change is needed to engage workers and achieve future success. While business leaders are well aware of socially-minded business practices and their impact on operations, the transition from this mindset to organizational changes is a natural progression. If the change is positioned as a mission with a clear purpose that will make a difference to the company, employees and community, there is a greater chance that it will be viewed positively.
As employees have been moved to reevaluate their mission, purpose, and values, they will be more open to purposeful change and see their work as a call to make a difference for the greater good. When leaders share a compelling reason for change, it sets the stage for employees to be part of something exciting in the company’s history, rather than a stressful time of ongoing change.
Related: What Benjamin Franklin and Tony Robbins Can Teach You About Self-Improvement
Embrace the change
The best thing leaders can do to address organizational transformation is to embrace change and accept it as the new norm. According to Capterra, change will be rampant in the 2020s, and 78% of employees expect constant change to occur in their workplaces.
New technologies are being developed and evaluated, more companies are adopting or increasing their use of technology, employee and customer expectations are evolving, and new job roles are being defined. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025, nearly 100 million more jobs adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms could emerge.
Related: Change your mindset and actions to embrace change
The pandemic, the Great Resignation, the labor market and economic challenges have combined to provide leaders with valuable experience for change initiatives. Regardless of the situation, past experiences are always a great educator and a way to build a knowledge base to draw upon in the future. Leaders and employees who embrace change effectively should experience professional and personal growth for long-term success.
Business leaders should consider a realistic view of the situation, determine the strategy and embrace the change to overcome the ramifications associated with the change. This will allow them to remain relevant and effectively take the next steps in the evolution of their companies.