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Supporting Your Team Through Change

Organizational change, such as mergers or restructures, are now a common and unavoidable practice that affect all aspects of a business. With that, change also has a direct impact on the well-being of the employees. For employees, change in the workplace adds stressors such as an increase in workload, culture clashes during mergers, and a decrease in well-being. Continuous exposure to these stressors deplete emotional resources, the tools we use to create confidence toward work and manage our motivation. When our emotional resources are diminishing it leads to a response of burnout. Within organizations, burnout has consistently been linked to stressors like unclear work expectations, poor company resources, increased deadlines, and higher work demands; All which are stressors that are also created during phases of organizational change. Furthermore, studies that have investigated frequently changing work environments have found that employees can develop a decline in their job security due to the role ambiguity that may come from change.

A study in Denmark found an increase in the use of stress-related medications among workers who faced the stressors of this continuously changing environments. In another study that looked at hospital nurses faced with frequent organizational change, the hospital employees were less likely to express job satisfaction and were prone to negative health effects due to stress. However, these consequences of change can mostly be mitigated, and the burnout from the change process can be reduced through managerial support and job control.

Once change is introduced into an organization it comes with new role responsibilities, mixing of new cultures, and higher demand from the emotional resources of employees. Change can create a perceived loss of control over your job, and this creates the surge of job dissatisfaction, the decrease in ownership of your work, and an increase in burnout. During organizational change, management that supports employees to have more autonomy over their work, cause a decrease among levels of cynicism and emotional exhaustion among workers. Allowing employees to be part of the change process may be ways in which leaders can create reassurance. This could be as simple as giving employees more control over their schedule, their work environment, and how they complete their job. Employees who have more control over their work experience lower levels of burnout, anxiety and depression.

When supervisors and managers create supportive environments, they mitigate the impact of organization change within their team. Employees who have support from their supervisors through times of change have a reduced depletion of emotional resources and are linked to positive work attitudes. The way a manager facilitates change within the organization has direct impact on the health of their employees. When there is a lack of managerial support through organizational change, it leads to an increase in the levels of role ambiguity, job dissatisfaction, and psychological stress among employees. However, when support from management is present during times of change, the levels of psychological stress, over-all health, and work confidence all increase. The change in perspective towards organizational change and the reduction of employee burnout are all components of a supportive work environment. When managers and supervisors create a supportive environment, their employees ability to cope with change is increased alongside the sense of job control.

Organizational change is unavoidable and is also an important component of business. However, it is important to understand the damage that can be created when change is created without a caring and reassuring foundation of management support. There is no denying that supervisors and managers have a strong pull on the well-being of employees. This makes creating interventions and trainings among leadership a crucial component towards mitigating the side-effects of organizational change. Having management who support employees and allow more autonomy over their job, leads to workers also having a voice and some control through organizational change, Leading to a smoother and more effective navigation for the team through the obstacles of change.


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