by Karin Bonev

March 24, 2022

So far, 2022 feels quite a bit like the last two years with continued waves of change and uncertainty. Within change management, we often talk about change fatigue. It’s usually defined as employees’ resistance or passive resignation to organizational change.

However, in our current environment, we need to significantly expand our definition of change fatigue. It now includes all audiences – employees, customers, suppliers, communities, investors. We’re all overwhelmed, overloaded or overextended. And it now includes all changes in our personal and professional lives.

This extensive change fatigue has significant communications implications. Our audiences have far shorter attention spans, limited capacity to listen to, process and retain new information and less energy to support change. See our post about the change curve.

All this means that as we communicate with any audience, we need to allow for:

  1. More time – It will take us longer to have our messages processed, retained and acted upon. As we develop communications strategies and change management strategies, we need to allow for that additional time. What might have taken three months will probably now take six months, if not more.
  2. More effort – We will have to work harder for the actions we need to happen. We’ll need to be more thoughtful about the audiences we’re targeting and dig deeper into the from/to shift that needs to occur. We’ll need to leverage more resources to get in front of our audiences consistently. We’ll need to be more intentional and personalized in our outreach. In addition to all-employee emails, consider targeted messages and videos to specific audience segments. Ensure that managers have the tools and communications they need to support efforts.
  3. More compelling and succinct communications – We will need to get at the heart of the issue almost immediately with direct and easy-to-understand language. Transparency and authenticity helped audiences during the height of the pandemic. Now it’s needed to just to break through.

By broadly adapting a change management mindset to communications with all our important stakeholders, we’ll be more successful in ensuring alignment and understanding. Want to talk more about your change management or communications strategy, send me a quick note.