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Businesses don’t care how constant change affects their staff and senior managers are to blame for this business failure, according to new research by human resources experts Gary Rees and Sally Rumbles.
The researchers argue that many organisations may have serious concerns about the impact change is having on their business, but only a few were worried about how this would affect the wellbeing of their employees.
“We were alarmed at some of the results. Employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset and collectively have the power to help businesses survive and thrive in bad times as well as in good,” said Mr Rees.
“Managers seem to think they have a licence to change, but our research has shown high-level executives admit only about a third of changes they’ve made are successful and have helped sustain their company through turbulent times.”
“Employers and senior managers need to stop foisting continual change upon their staff in a bid to stay viable as a business. The secret is not to ignore the fact change can threaten the staff who, in turn, can become exhausted, cynical or depressed, which destabilises the organisation.”
He warned that overloading employees with continual change will lead to poorer performance, productivity and retention. Burnout in the workplace includes emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and low personal accomplishment. The study also found that the stress level of employees can become embarrassing to businesses.
Ms Rumbles said that “The worst thing is those who are more likely to burnout in the workplace are the most engaged and hard-working staff. If a business loses those people then it risks destabilising the business.”
The researchers say the concept of successfully managing change is not new, but the recent pace and scope of that change is exceptional. Some organisations are now taking ‘stress tests’ to see how fit they are to survive more change, less money and more uncertainty.
In the UK, the cost of sickness absence due to mental ill health alone is estimated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to be £28 billion a year.