This is precisely where organisational change management statistics come into play, offering valuable insights into how leaders can effectively navigate these turbulent waters of change.

We’ve gathered definitive, data-driven insights here that can empower change leaders to make informed decisions, optimise their change strategies, and ultimately enhance their organisation’s ability to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving business landscape. 

There are overarching areas of research that provide valuable insights into how businesses can navigate and succeed in times of transformation. To make it easier to digest the data and make more impactful recommendations, we’ve grouped the statistics into 6 key areas:

  1. Success and failure rates of change initiatives
  2. Leadership and ownership in change planning
  3. Employee experience and resistance to change
  4. Change communication strategies and effectiveness
  5. Workforce adaptability and change fatigue
  6. Organisational relevance and change alignment

Statistics of Success and Failure Rates of Change Initiatives

Not all changes are a success. This high-level overview shows how successful or unsuccessful change initiatives typically are, as well as the gravity of the problem and the need for effective change management strategies.

Statistics of Leadership and Ownership in Change Planning

The next logical step is to examine the role of leadership in these initiatives, as leadership is often the driving force behind organisational change. Here, we focus on who is taking the lead during change initiatives and how effective that leadership is.

  • 74% of leaders say they involved employees in creating a change strategy, but only 42% of employees feel included. (Gartner)
  • 23% of employees feel excluded from change-related decisions. (Oak Engage)
  • Change success increased by 24% when employees primarily own implementation planning. (Gartner)
  • 7 in 10 organisations lead change from the top of the organisation down, with a small group of leaders guiding the workforce through change. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council
  • 51% of managers and employees say their leaders do not outline clear success metrics for change. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council)

  • 31% of CEOs get fired for poor change management. (LeadershipIQ)
  • Only 27% of employees agreed their leadership is trained to lead teams through change. (Change Synergy)
  • Only 25% of organisations have employees who say managing change is a major strength of senior leaders. (WTW)
  • 53% of leaders agreed change needs to be completed faster. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council)

Statistics of Employee Experience and Resistance to Change

After understanding the leadership’s viewpoint, it naturally follows to look at the employee perspective, as they are the ones most affected by these changes. By combining employee attitudes, resistance to change, and the emotional and psychological impact of change, we delve deeper into the “human” side of change management.

  • 37% of employees are resistant to change. (Oak Engage)

  • At 41%, mistrust in the organisation makes employees most resistant to change, followed by lack of awareness around the reason for change (39%), fear of the unknown (38%), change of job role (27%), and exclusion from change-related decisions (23%). (Oak Engage)
  • 8% of employees said the business makes poor decisions generally, so they were against the change. (Oak Engage)
  • Only 38% of employees were willing to support organisational change in 2022. (Gartner)
  • 43% of employees said if leaders did more to understand change resistance, it would invite more collaboration. (Oak Engage)
  • 74% of employees think leaders need to do more to understand why people resist change. (Oak Engage)
  • 43% of employees don’t agree that their workplace is prepared to effectively manage change. (Oak Engage)

  • 73% of change-effected employees report experiencing moderate to high stress levels. (Gartner)
  • 40% of employees feel anxious towards change. Only 16% feel happy about it. (Oak Engage)
  • Employees suffering from change-related stress perform 5% worse than the average employee. (Gartner)
  • 80% of employees experience “cultural tensions” or competing priorities they don’t know how to balance in times of change. (Gartner)

Also read: How to Overcome Resistance to Change at Work

Statistics of Change Communication Strategies and Effectiveness

Following the insights into how both leaders and employees perceive change, we now explore the communication dynamics between the two groups. This is critical as both the success and failure of change initiatives often hinge on effective or ineffective communication.

  • At 70%, supervisors are preferred senders of personal impact messages, while business leaders (CEO or President at 50%, followed by Executive Managers at 25%) are preferred senders of organisational messages. (Prosci)
  • 29% of employees said change wasn’t communicated clearly in their organisation. (Oak Engage)
  • 28% of employees said they did not receive the necessary information to understand change. (Oak Engage)
  • 28% of employees resist change because top-down communication makes them angry and anxious. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council

  • 39% of employees were sceptical about significant organisational change but open to being shown by managers or colleagues why it was a good thing. (Oak Engage)
  • 1/3 of employees who experienced change at work during the pandemic rate their employer’s communication regarding those changes as either “fair” or “poor.” (Capterra)
  • 27% of employees say their employer has rarely or never asked for feedback or input on changes implemented during the pandemic. (Capterra)
  • According to the CEB Corporate Leadership Council, with talk communication during change, only 5% of employees express anger, 29% express anxiety, 35% express hope, and 59% express pride.
  • With top-down tell strategies, only 20% of the workforce understands the change they face. On the other hand, with open-source talk communication, 54% of the workforce understands the change. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council
  • With top-down change strategies, only 20% of entry-level non-managers understand change in their workforce. (Gartner)

Statistics of Workforce Adaptability and Change Fatigue

Now that we’ve looked at leadership, employee experience, and communication, the focus shifts to the broader emotional and psychological impacts on the workforce. This section discusses how prepared the workforce is to adapt to changes and what the emotional toll might be.

  • Managing change fatigue is the top mission-critical priority for communication leaders. (Gartner)
  • 71% of employees say they’re overwhelmed by the amount of change at work during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Capterra)
  • 83% of workers suffering from change fatigue say their employer has not provided enough tools or resources to help them adapt. (Capterra)
  • 93% of change-fatigued employees say their employer has backtracked on at least one change implemented during the pandemic, resulting in decreased trust in the company leaders. (Capterra)

  • Change-fatigued employees are considering looking for a new job (54%), more tired and stressed at work (48%), and less trusting of their employer (37%). (Capterra)
  • 64% of employees possess most of the skills needed to be effective at change. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council
  • 64% of employees wait to be told by leaders what to do during change. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council)
  • 78% of employees expect constant change to happen at work moving forward from the pandemic. (Capterra)

Statistics of Organisational Relevance and Change Alignment

Here, we tie the change initiatives back to the overall organisational goals and daily activities of the employees.

  • 71% of employees are at risk of misdirecting their efforts toward the wrong activities because leader-created plans are not relevant to their day-to-day work. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council)
  • Only 32% of employees indicated that their organisation considers individual change capability in development plans. (Change Synergy)
  • In 2023, only 43% of employees say their organisation is good at managing change (down from nearly 60% in 2019). (WTW)

Leading Organisational Change the Right Way

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from these change management statistics, it’s that the landscape of organisational change is both challenging and ripe with opportunities. These data-driven insights progress from high-level organisational perspectives to detailed ground-level views, while also capturing the dynamic interplay between different stakeholders.

Successfully navigating organisational change comes with its own set of unique challenges: high failure rates, employee resistance, and the need for effective communication. ChangingPoint offers tailored solutions in organisational development and change leadership, backed by years of experience and successful case studies. Our programmes are designed to deliver meaningful, measurable impact, aligning both your team and business goals for optimal success.

Contact us today to discover how we can help you navigate organisational changes effectively and efficiently.

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Written by Jayne Ruff

Jayne Ruff, Occupational Psychologist & Managing Director at ChangingPoint. To find out more about how ChangingPoint can help you align minds to transform your business, get in touch.

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