What Is Change Fatigue?

Change fatigue means that individuals feel overwhelmed due to an unrelenting pace of organizational changes, leading to reduced engagement and a decline in their ability to adapt.


Change fatigue happens when a person or team (network) is at least one change project past their capacity, which can result in burnout, indifference, retreat, or looking for a way out.

—Evelyn Williams, Prosci Principal Change Advisor

Change Saturation vs. Change Fatigue

Change saturation occurs when disruptive changes exceed a network or individual's capacity to adopt them. It typically happens when no one tracks change efforts across the business. This causes employees to exhibit signs of change fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, unsettled, and struggling to respond positively to change.

Preventing change saturation in the first place is key to minimizing change fatigue. You can prevent it using effective change management processes and working with Prosci change experts. With our support, you can mitigate change saturation and fatigue in individuals, teams, organizations and across entire enterprises.


Manage Change Fatigue With a Structured, Flexible Approach

Change practitioners can proactively employ several tactics within change plans to minimize the risk of change fatigue.

The Prosci Methodology is a structured and flexible approach to change. Its framework allows you to create processes and set boundaries that protect employee welfare throughout different change initiatives. The approach enables organizations to stagger implementation, incorporate recovery time, provide resources, and create feedback loops to support and empower employees throughout change.

Change fatigue on an individual level

Individuals are overwhelmed, exhausted, and experiencing a lack of motivation. All of this leads to resistance behaviors and frustration caused by the constant need to adjust.

Change fatigue at an organizational level

Organizations experience increased turnover, a breakdown of communication, strained relationships, and resistance from change-fatigued employees. It impacts the overall company culture, making it challenging to implement change successfully.

Change fatigue in the workplace has a widespread impact on employee morale, motivation and performance. Productivity can take a hit, and employees feel stressed and burned out as a result of constant change.

However change fatigue presents itself, the end goal is always to support employees to make change as seamless, efficient, and manageable as possible. Read about the change management process to learn how to organize change successfully.

Given the challenges employees can face due to change fatigue, effective change management is even more vital for organizational success. It prepares, equips, and supports employees throughout different aspects of change, helping them engage, adopt, and use the change successfully.

Overcome Change Fatigue to Improve Change Outcomes

Avoiding change fatigue benefits employees and organizations. It supports a healthier work environment, improves performance, and builds a stronger capacity to navigate and implement change.

Plus, morale improves when employees are better equipped to handle change. Teams become more cohesive and open to collaborating with senior leaders, sponsors, and other crucial roles to change success.

Seventy-five percent of Prosci Best Practices in Change Management study participants identified their organization as being near, at, or past the point of saturation.

Level of Change Saturation

Chart outlining the level of change saturation from Prosci best practices study

Prosci research consistently shows that organizations with excellent change management achieve greater change success. And using a structured approach to change management is a top contributor to that success, ranking second in our most recent study.

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The Impact of Change Fatigue on Your Organization 

Change fatigue can have serious consequences on your organization’s success, which is why it’s essential to deploy a change management program to ensure leadership and individuals are supported.

Without change fatigue

  • Lower turnover
  • Better morale
  • Positive attitudes
  • Higher productivity
  • Increased engagement

With change fatigue

  • Lack of motivation
  • Increased resistance to change
  • Emotional and physical exhaustion
  • Burnout and stress

With effective change management, organizations can:

  • Prevent the effects of change fatigue to build a resilient workforce
  • Explain the reasoning behind change to increase employee buy-in and commitment
  • Provide employees, managers, and senior leaders with the resources to enact change successfully
  • Keep productivity levels high
  • Create a positive work environment to reduce turnover
  • Implement changes as effectively and efficiently as possible

Applying change management principles before, during and after your change initiatives goes a long way in helping you achieve your desired change outcomes.

Foster a Culture of Change Acceptance

When you create an organizational culture that embraces change, employees are more likely to welcome it. You create an environment where people see change as an opportunity for improvement, ensuring they understand why it’s necessary and the benefits of adapting.

This way, they know what must happen to enact change successfully, so it’s less overwhelming. In other words—they’re not left in the dark.

How to Overcome Change Fatigue

Overcoming change fatigue is a continuous process. From effectively delivering key messages about change to building a resilient and adaptable workforce, you need to do all you can to prevent and minimize fatigue every step of the way.

Fortunately, the Prosci Methodology guides you through every step of the change management process. Our methodology, based on 25+ years of research, adopts a people-first approach to change, ensuring you consider the impact on individuals throughout the process.


Change fatigue isn't just a buzzword; it's a weight that slows organizational agility. As leaders, we must recognize its signs and act swiftly to re-energize our teams, ensuring that change propels us forward rather than holding us back.

—Tim Creasey, Chief Innovation Officer 

A Framework for Individual Change: The Prosci ADKAR Model 

Understanding the common signs and symptoms of change fatigue (such as resistance to change, lack of engagement, change in behaviors, or a decline in performance) is vital for early detection.

Use the Prosci ADKAR® Model to identify where employees struggle with change fatigue and tailor support strategies accordingly:

  • Awareness – Of the need for change
  • Desire – To participate and support the change
  • Knowledge – On how to change
  • Ability – To implement required skills and behaviors
  • Reinforcement – To sustain the change

Find out more about the ADKAR Model in our webinar, ADKAR: The Five Building Blocks of Individual Change.

A Framework for Organizational Change: The Prosci 3-Phase Process

The Prosci 3-Phase Process is a framework for achieving change at an organizational level. Change practitioners apply elements of the Prosci Methodology (such as the ADKAR Model and Prosci Change Triangle (PCT) Model) within the framework of the Prosci 3-Phase Process.

Here’s how the Prosci 3-Phase Process fits into the Prosci Methodology:

Image of the Prosci 3-Phase Process

Let’s walk through the goals of each phase.

  • Phase 1 – Prepare Approach – Develop a customized and comprehensive change management strategy that sets you up for success. Practitioners establish what they are trying to achieve, how the change impacts individuals, and the steps required to achieve project success.
  • Phase 2 – Manage Change – Bring your change management strategy to life by developing plans and actions to manage change. Establish how to prepare individuals for change, track progress, and iterate activities based on the performance of change management activities. 
  • Phase 3 – Sustain Outcomes – Ensure change is successfully implemented and maintained by the organization. Compare performance against the desired outcomes, initiate actions that sustain these outcomes, and transfer ownership to carry sustainment efforts forward.

This change management process focuses on how to implement change across the entire business, taking all necessary steps to prevent and address change fatigue.


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