A survey we conducted revealed that the greatest cause of employee disengagement was “change fatigue”. The cost of this disengagement and burnout is enormous with a 2017 survey of 614 HR leaders showing that 46% of them believed this was responsible for up to half (20 to 50 percent, specifically) of their annual workforce turnover.

There is a disconnect between leaders wanting to successfully deliver change and the current reality. In order for leaders to create teams that respond quickly to change and are future-ready, what leaders say and do also needs to change. Right now, clients are more demanding than ever and expect their suppliers to adapt to those demands quickly. Current change management needs to get much better to allow for a more fluid structure that supports and encourages teamwork, innovation, and adaptation.

Current workplace situation

We are just beginning the fourth industrial revolution which is being driven by digital technology and artificial intelligence. This has created VUCA times, or volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous drivers of change which adds complexity to the workplace. It has also led to significant changes in organizational structure. Experts predict an exponential rate of change going forward.

Clients are more demanding than in previous years because of fast access to competitive information. They are wanting more features, benefits, and services, and are reluctant to pay any more for them. The employees then have to quickly adapt to accommodate these demands. These changes also alter the organizational structure as the company strives to meet the growing demands.

As the client demands increase, employees must rely on more collaboration and innovation to deliver. This is a drastic increase from previous years. Before the digital revolution, employees would work much more by themselves. Now there’s a need for greater teamwork and collaboration to accommodate the constant changes and demands.

Why it needs to be better

Change management needs to be much better because the current workplace situation shows both employees and managers are not feeling connected to their jobs. Studies show that 87% of employees are disengaged, meaning that the majority are not striving to work in the new direction, and many are just doing the minimum required to keep their position.

In addition to employee dissatisfaction, 65% of managers are disengaged. The Edelman Global Trust index showed that 82% of employees distrust what their manager says which is a huge inhibitor of innovation and fast execution.

The disconnect between employees and managers will eventually cause a breakdown in customer satisfaction. In order for leaders to build a stronger workforce that functions within the new workplace dynamic, change management needs to be much better.

Managers need to change themselves if they expect others to change. They must also admit that they don’t have all the answers and ask their team for suggestions. The best predictor of a thriving tribe is a thriving leader. This is why leaders, tribes, and organisations are going to have to be more agile, resourceful and resilient and do change better.