How To Avoid Change Burnout
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Have Your Employees Had Enough? The Top 5 Signs Of Change Burnout And How To Overcome Them

Posted on December 4, 2023 by Grace Hill

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Change is inevitable, especially in the fast-paced world of multifamily real estate. However, as companies eagerly embrace transformative initiatives, a significant challenge emerges — change burnout. With constant shifts in market dynamics, technology, and customer expectations, this phenomenon is a growing concern in the industry, and it can have profound consequences on the performance and well-being of teams. 

This blog explores the topic of change burnout to better understand its far-reaching impact. From the lens of leadership, we examine the crucial role management plays in preventing change burnout, from detecting its subtle signs within your talent pool to equipping you with practical strategies to cultivate a change-resilient workforce. 

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What Is Change Burnout?

According to the NeuroLeadership Institute, “Change fatigue [or burnout] is the sense of frustration, apathy, and resistance that can arise among employees subjected to frequent, ongoing changes in organizational structures and processes.”

In his article “New Outlook On Burnout For 2023: Limitations On What Managers Can Do,” Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. shares the following:

  • A recent survey from Slack found that burnout is on the rise globally, most significantly in the U.S., where 43% of middle managers reported burnout—more than any other worker group. 
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) officially classified burnout as a medical diagnosis…a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed…diagnosed by four symptoms: 1) Feelings of energy depletion, exhaustion and fatigue, 2) Increased mental distance from your job, 3) Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job, [and] 4) Reduced professional efficacy.

In the multifamily real estate sector, where adaptation to market trends is vital, employees can be overwhelmed by the constant need to adjust to new technologies, regulations, and customer demands. This burnout can lead to reduced productivity and increased turnover, negatively impacting the overall work environment.

Change burnout can happen for various reasons, including constant and overlapping organizational changes. But according to Caitlin Harper of Commcoterie, an organizational change consultancy, “It can also happen when changes significantly impact employees, but that impact isn’t adequately recognized by leadership, when there is a lack of trust at the organization, or when change happens, but employees don’t see results or outputs from their inputs.”*

The Impact of Change Burnout on Multifamily Real Estate Companies

Change burnout can have far-reaching consequences for multifamily real estate companies, particularly while trying to navigate dynamic market conditions and evolving industry trends. The constant need to adapt to new strategies can lead to change fatigue among employees, affecting their morale, productivity, and overall well-being. 

In a multifamily setting, where collaboration and effective teamwork are crucial, burnout can undermine the team’s cohesiveness and hinder the company’s ability to respond proactively to market demands.

Industry leaders are adapting to advancements in property technology and sustainability requirements while simultaneously balancing financial pressures and legislative regulations with growing resident needs and expectations. 

Sometimes caught in the middle are employees. If employees are overwhelmed by continuous changes without adequate support or recognition, they may become resistant to embracing new ideas and technologies. Not only can this resistance hinder the company’s ability to stay competitive, but it also can lead to decreased employee morale and engagement. 

Dissatisfied and disengaged employees lead to increased employee turnover. High employee turnover typically causes a decline in the quality of customer service, which then ultimately triggers a decrease in resident satisfaction and renewals. Without intervention, the downward spiral can create organizational shockwaves and a cascading effect that can devastate your ROI.

To mitigate the impact of change burnout, multifamily real estate owners and operators should prioritize effective communication, provide comprehensive training, and foster a culture that values adaptability and resilience among their teams.

The Role of Leadership in Preventing Change Burnout

Leadership plays a crucial role in mitigating change burnout. A key responsibility of leaders is to establish clear and realistic expectations regarding organizational changes. Proactive and empathetic leaders can create a positive work culture that embraces change while providing the necessary support for employees to adapt. 

Transparent communication is the first step in preventing change burnout and can help manage employee expectations and reduce uncertainty, a major contributor to burnout. 

To help navigate significant change, leaders should be prepared to share the following

  • The reasons for change.
  • The expected benefits.
  • The expected outcomes.
  • The resources available to help your teams navigate these changes.
  • The anticipated timeline.

Leaders should establish a collaborative and supportive work environment where employees feel heard and valued. This involves encouraging open dialogue, actively seeking feedback, addressing concerns, and acknowledging the efforts of individuals and teams during periods of change.

Providing robust and comprehensive training, access to current information, and the tools to navigate new processes helps create a culture of empathy that can go a long way in preventing burnout. 

Grace Hill’s industry-specific training content helps empower teams and retain top talent. In addition, our customizable, easy-to-use policy management system gives leaders a central hub of information to promote transparent communication.

How To Recognize Change Burnout in Your Talent

Recognizing change burnout in your talent is crucial for sustaining a healthy and productive work environment. EWF International, a company focusing on transformational leadership, highlights several symptoms of employee fatigue related to constant change in the workplace. The top five from their research are listed below:

Top 5 Indicators of Change Burnout

  1. Noise: Persistent complaints about the new changes
    Are team members displaying signs of frustration, cynicism, or negativity during team interactions? Have there been instances of resistance to change accompanied by skepticism or negative comments? 
  2. Apathy: Noticeable lack of interest, dwindling enthusiasm, or little concern
    Have team members shown a declining enthusiasm and eagerness to take on new challenges or participate in change-related initiatives? Is there a noticeable decrease in the quality of work, as demonstrated by more errors, mistakes, or compromised attention to detail? Have key performance indicators or productivity metrics shown a downward trend? 
  3. Burnout: Workers are visibly exhausted, mentally and/or physically
    Have team members reported feelings of anxiety, burnout, or mental fatigue? Is there a noticeable increase in absenteeism or frequent requests for sick leave? Have there been patterns of extended breaks or unexplained absences?
  4. Stress: Increasingly irritable and anxious
    Are there observable signs of stress, such as fatigue or exhaustion? Have there been instances of isolation or disengagement where individuals withdraw from team activities, meetings, or social interactions?
  5. Resistance: Continually pushing back on change
    Are team members showing a decreased willingness to take initiative or contribute ideas? Have there been instances of passivity or a “just doing the bare minimum” attitude? Are they expressing a desire for stability and resistance to further disruptions?

When team members communicate less openly and effectively, increased misunderstandings or conflicts are likely to follow.

Regularly monitoring these indicators and conducting open conversations with your team can help you proactively identify and address change burnout, fostering a healthier and more resilient work environment.

How To Create and Promote a Change-Resilient Workforce

Creating and promoting a change-resilient workforce is essential for organizations navigating today’s dynamic multifamily landscape. It requires a multifaceted approach with ongoing training and resources that help employees acquire the necessary skills for their evolving roles.

Where talent thrives and burnout is low, you often find organizations that:

  • Foster a culture of open communication, encouraging transparent dialogue that allows employees to express concerns, share feedback, and feel heard throughout the change process. 
  • Provide clear communication about the strategy behind the changes and the anticipated benefits to help employees understand the context of business decisions, increasing the chances they will adapt. 
  • Invest in comprehensive training programs to equip employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the evolving work environment. 
  • Recognize and celebrate small victories along the way to boost morale and maintain a positive atmosphere. 

Effective leaders should model adaptability, resilience, and a positive attitude, setting the tone for their teams to navigate change successfully. Implementing change gradually and involving employees in decision-making can also increase their sense of ownership and commitment to the changes.

Continuously assess and learn from each change initiative, refining strategies based on feedback and outcomes to build an organization that not only endures change but thrives in the face of it.

Overcoming Change Burnout

The path to success begins with informed leadership and a workforce ready to navigate change effectively. Overlooking change burnout in the multifamily real estate industry can have far-reaching negative consequences but can be mitigated with effective leadership and a proactive approach. 

By recognizing the signs of change burnout, addressing the root causes, and actively promoting a culture of resilience, companies can create an environment where employees thrive in the face of evolving industry trends and market dynamics.

Don’t let change burnout hinder your company’s growth and employee satisfaction. Partner with Grace Hill to empower your leaders, train your teams, and transform your organization into a thriving multifamily industry leader.

* Combating Change Fatigue: Signs, Symptoms, and Coping Strategies From Experienced Change Facilitators

Grace Hill’s marketing content team aims to create informative resources that help multifamily and commercial industry professionals elevate their performance. From blog posts and ebooks to infographics, checklists and webinars, the Grace Hill team has a singular focus: creating meaningful and engaging content that resonates with real estate professionals across the industry.  However, what makes Grace Hill so unique is the range of collective experience and collaborative spirit of its marketing content team. A group of talented writers with expertise in the real estate industry, overall management effectiveness, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency, the team provides new ideas to take performance to the next level. As a thought leader, Grace Hill's content team constantly pushes the envelope, experimenting with new resources and tools to keep industry professionals ahead of the curve.  Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out in the real estate industry, the content team at Grace Hill is creating resources to help you succeed. Learn more about Grace Hill on LinkedIn.

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