While change can be challenging, it is necessary for growth in today's fast-paced business environment. To stay on top of new technological developments, the economy, laws and regulations, businesses must be willing to change and adapt.
Organizational change is tough and can sometimes leave people feeling uncomfortable. Change happens at every level of business, whether at a team-based or company-wide level. It also involves many parties and requires cooperation and structure for proper execution.
Change management is necessary during infrastructure changes, work functions, company culture, corporate hierarchy, and other critical internal processes.
Employers must be well-equipped to handle change when executing these new processes. This will help your employees understand and navigate this period effectively.
What is change management?
Change management can be defined as the process and techniques for planning and facilitating change at an organizational level. It helps address and prioritize who needs to do what, from start to finish.
Change management also includes standardized approaches, actions, and plans for describing and coordinating change.
Why is change management important?
Change management is important because it reduces the negative impact new systems or processes have on employees. Introducing new systems and processes can come with hitches which can lead to dips in productivity.
Change management encourages transparency and trust in management. It also eases the uncertainty that can make people resistant to change. This is because it communicates key information about what to expect. This will decrease the chance of mental stress, dips in morale, and decreased productivity, while making sure that employees are prepared for any challenges these changes may bring.
Many organizations struggle with implementing change because they fail to follow their initial plans for change management. Managing change well is one of the main distinctions between successful and failing businesses. This is why a change management strategy is critical to the success of any new process you’re undertaking in your business.
A few other benefits of change management include:
- Improved creativity— Employees can explore new, more creative ways to carry out tasks.
- Less stress— The prospect of change can be very stress-inducing for employees. Knowing exactly what’s required of them throughout the change management process can help them relax. The change management process will give them more clarity on what changes to expect and how they will affect them.
- Enriched communication— Effective change management requires open and transparent communication between managers, and everyone affected by the change.
- Improved productivity— Since employees have a clear idea of what’s expected of them and how new processes work, they can maintain their productivity.
How to craft a change management plan
Planning should be a crucial part of your change management strategy. For your change management process to be successful, a well-thought-out plan is essential. When faced with complex or significant changes (e.g. a merger), a strong change management plan will help determine your business’s probability for success.
Here’s how to create a winning change management plan.
1. Put a team together
One of the first things you must do is build a team. Effectively implementing change is tough when done alone. So teamwork is integral to your success.
This team should include a mix of people from different organizational levels. They will bring different perspectives on how the new processes or systems affect their teams. They will also serve as a conduit for their departments' concerns, thoughts, and contributions so all employees feel represented and heard.
2. Establish your goals
Your plan should include well-defined goals. Your primary goal should be to inform everyone about what changes to expect. Then, create a plan that helps those affected by the change get used to it. Every change management plan should set goals and steps for each part of the change management process. Then communicate to employees which factors will impact them.
Consider what outcomes you want these changes to have when crafting your other goals, as they may affect your business, clients, and customers.
3. Create a checklist of tasks
The next part of your change management plan should include a checklist of tasks to facilitate it. This list will keep your team on track and serve as a resource they can refer to. A crucial part of creating your checklist should involve brainstorming with your team to get their input on each item.
It would help if you also had a timeline for completing each task to make sure you finish the project on time. Include specified due dates and contingency plans for the possibility of failing to complete tasks according to deadlines.
4. Conduct training
You should consider how you will train your employees on these new processes. This will help determine the success of your change management process.
Not everyone will have the skills you need for the new systems or processes. Conducting training on new procedures will help make the transition easier and increase your employees’ confidence in executing their tasks.
Training also gives employees a chance to get hands-on experience on how the new changes work. It gives them an open floor to ask questions and makes it easier to understand areas they’re struggling with. Another way to train employees is by distributing FAQ documents, training manuals, quickstart guides for technological changes or reference materials.
5. Encourage communication
Asking employees to share their feedback is integral to the success of any change management process. It’s not enough to simply accept input. Take steps to incorporate what your employees share into your plan, so they’re more welcoming of the change.
Remember, not all feedback will be positive. But, negative feedback can provide information on where to improve and give you insights into people's concerns and feelings.
These change management strategies help make the transition period and consequent adoption of new processes easier for all parties involved. Anyone in charge of change management should display exemplary skills and qualities. These include open-mindedness, strategic thinking, and flexibility to help inspire their teams to be more receptive to change.
Get help preparing your employees for change management with BrightHR
Expertly managing change is essential for every business environment. It can help you adapt to changes like new processes, digital transformation, organizational restructuring, or new leadership.
Businesses that fail to prepare for change could face resistance. This can lead to low productivity and performance as well as conflicts within the workplace.
Managing change in the workplace also requires flexibility and patience. Some employees may need more preparation to embrace new systems or processes.
Get support and answers to any questions you have on navigating resistance to change from our team of HR advisors. Our BrightAdvice lines are available from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.