` How to reduce the likelihood of burnout during organisational change | Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA)
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09 May 2022
by Dr Fran Longstaff

How to reduce the likelihood of burnout during organisational change

While ‘change is good’, it is also inherently stressful to a workforce. But improving mental fitness can help them cope

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A recent study by Fika: Mental Fitness found that 54% of the working population do not have the mental skills to cope with organisational change. But what if there was a way for businesses to predict how their employees were going to cope with an imminent change and train them in advance?

The psychological impact of change

As we emerge from the pandemic, many businesses are going through inevitable change. Employee turnover is at an all time high, 60% of small businesses are short-staffed and many businesses are still trying to find the right balance between remote and on-site working.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘change is good.’ But I’m sure it’s no surprise that change is also inherently stressful. Research has consistently found that organisational change can lead to negative psychological outcomes including role ambiguity, employee uncertainty and increased workload. All of which can lead to poor engagement and burnout. 

It would be remiss to argue that organisational change isn’t difficult. However, it’s important to acknowledge that many of us think of change as something that simply happens to us. Something largely outside of our control. And this can leave us feeling drained as we lose our sense of autonomy and agency. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

The role of mental fitness in positive adaptation to change

In psychology it is well understood that it is not situations and experiences themselves that cause us distress and discomfort, but rather our interpretation of them and our ability to cope with them.

Although businesses can put organisation-wide processes and initiatives in place to support large-scale change, when we think about the individuals and teams within them, in essence it is our mental fitness that determines how well we respond. 

Our mental fitness relates to our proficiency in seven mental skills: confidence, motivation, focus, stress management, positivity, connection and meaning.

And we know that people who:
• have the mindset that these skills can be trained
• regularly train these skills; and
• can apply these skills in even the most difficult situations, tend to be better able to cope with what life has to throw at them. 

Over the past six months at Fika: Mental Fitness, we have developed our proprietary mental fitness scale to better understand the levels of mental fitness in the general working population and, more importantly, the consequences of these levels for businesses going through challenging or difficult times, such as organisational change. 

We surveyed 1001 people in current employment and identified that 54% either don’t believe they can train their mental skills, do not engage in mental skills training or have the ability to apply their mental skills when under pressure. As a consequence, they are prone to ineffective coping behaviours, burnout and low engagement during major organisational change. 

Training for change

Our data and insights enable us to effectively work with businesses, to not only predict how their employees will cope with an imminent change but also put bespoke training in place to help them cope more effectively with it.

Our training programmes are typically delivered over a four-week period prior to an imminent change and include courses and exercises for both individuals and teams. Individual exercises are delivered in our evidence-based 5min bitesize units. And our training platform builds knowledge and understanding that mental fitness is something that can be trained. But most importantly, our technology provides structure and permission to enable employees to apply their mental skills in specific contexts (eg team meetings), building team confidence.

It really is possible to ‘Train for Change.’

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In partnership with Fika

Our pioneering approach's proven to prevent mental health decline & increase employee performance.

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