Mitigate IT Employee Fatigue with the Right ITSM Platform

A recently published article from Gartner highlights steps CIOs should take to help mitigate IT employee fatigue. According to the article, employees are still dealing with an unprecedented amount of change – a trend that started with the COVID pandemic – and all of this change is causing employee fatigue.

“Any employee is dealing with digital acceleration, staff departures, having to adjust to various working models, and many more workplace disruptions, and they are exhausted,” Daniel Sanchez-Reina, VP Analyst, Gartner, said in the article. “When unmanaged, employee fatigue is impacting the success of technological initiatives.”

And while many IT departments have, or are in the process of implementing, a good change management policy and a culture of change, many CIOs say they aren’t getting the results they want. And why is that? According to Sanchez-Reina, it’s because they overlook change fatigue. In fact, the article states that 8 out of 10 CIOs don’t make fatigue a regular part of conversations when it comes to business technology initiatives.

Before we explore the ways to mitigate this fatigue, it’s important to understand what is meant by change fatigue.

Gartner, according to the article, defines change fatigue as, “the negative employee response to change (including apathy, burnout and frustration) that harms organizational outcomes.”

In the article, Sanchez-Reina states, “Fatigue hurts an employee’s performance in many ways, including apathy, burnout and frustration. It also decreases a workers’ ability to make decisions, solve complex problems and communicate.”

So what can be done?

Gartner advises CIOs to take four steps to reduce change fatigue. Those steps are:

  1. Treat Change Fatigue as a Business Issue
  2. Distribute Change Leadership
  3. Co-Create Execution and Involve Stakeholders
  4. Care About the Emotions of Change

Mitigating IT Employee Fatigue

The first step to mitigating IT employee fatigue is to treat change fatigue as a business issue. This means you should be making change fatigue a point of conversation when talking about technology projects with business leaders and stakeholders.

According to Sanchez-Reina, most CIOs only work with business partners to set project times lines and communications plans – they don’t contemplate the emotional toll on employees who are juggling multiple projects and tasks.

“CIOs should factor change fatigue into their planning initiatives by adding a fatigue evaluation,” Sanchez-Reina advises, “It should be arranged as a discussion with business partners. This discussion should include, at a minimum, the level of effort each initiative requires and how to combine the day-to-day with the initiative.”

The next two steps are to distribute change leadership – so that there’s better visibility and transparency across the work being done, and by whom – and to co-create execution and involve stakeholders.

According to the article, the most successful organizations make decisions about how to execute change projects with the cooperation of top executives and lower organizational layers.

“CIOs should create teams that include technical experts as well as experts from all of the functions that the initiative will touch,” Sanchez-Reina said. “The blend of people with different perspectives will contribute to the cohesiveness of the people involved in the change.”

A great way to create this collaborative environment with better transparency, visibility and communication into all change projects and work happening within an organization is to use an IT Service Management platform that includes Project Portfolio Management baked in.

When you have projects and tickets together on one platform you can engage in resource capacity planning and ensure that your IT employees aren’t overloaded with change projects.

According to Sanchez-Reina, “CIOs should also set guidance for how their teams should do their work, which helps ensure that the multidisciplinary teams share accountability for results and focus on delivering business outcomes, not merely completing a project plan.”

And with the one-platform approach to ITSM and PPM, you’re better set up for success and setting up processes, guidance and boundaries for change management.

Finally, the last step is to care about the emotions of change.

“Since a positive or negative emotional impact builds a positive or negative long-lasting memory in our brain, it is critical for CIOs to create a mental track record of as many positives as possible,” Sanchez-Reina said. “For example, some companies include ‘listening to the drawbacks’ sessions in the change plan, where employees have the chance to openly share their concerns. This initiative replaces the occasional venting moments in the water cooler or vending machine, making those concerns manageable.”

This feedback loop is critical to being able to appropriately gauge IT employees’ feelings about the changes occurring and all of the work involved.

To learn more about change management best practices, check out:  

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