Business failure is directly related to senior managers not understanding or caring that change can knock a workforce off its feet.

According to research published in the International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management by human resources experts, Gary Rees and Sally Rumbles of the University of Portsmouth Business School, many organisations have serious concerns about the impact change is having on their business, but few worry about employees or their welfare.

Mr Rees said:

“We were alarmed at some of the results. Employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset and collectively have the power to help businesses survive and thrive in bad times as well as in good.

“Managers seem to think they have a licence to change, but our research has shown high-level executives admit only about a third of changes they’ve made are successful and have helped sustain their company through turbulent times.

“Employers and senior managers need to stop foisting continual change upon their staff in a bid to stay viable as a business. The secret is not to ignore the fact change can threaten the staff who, in turn, can become exhausted, cynical or depressed.”

Burnout in the workplace includes emotional exhaustion (loss of energy, feeling worn out and powerless), cynicism (negative attitude, distancing and irritability), and low personal accomplishment (feelings of incompetence, low assertiveness, low self-esteem, ineffectiveness and cognition focused on failure).

Their study of 20 senior human resources practitioners at companies employing more than 100 people found senior executives are embarrassed at high levels of employee stress within their organisations but also, that many don’t care if employees are burning out.

Ms Rumbles said:

“The worst thing is those who are more likely to burnout in the workplace are the most engaged and hard-working staff. If a business loses those people then it risks destabilising the business.

“Instead of seeing people as the most important asset and what gives a business its competitive advantage, too many senior managers think what is good for business is good for the workers.”