Most organizations today are in a constant state of flux as they respond to the fast-moving external business environment, local and global economies, and technological advancement. This means that workplace processes, systems, and strategies must continuously change and evolve for an organization to remain competitive.
Change affects your most important asset, your people. Losing employees is costly due to the associated recruitment costs and the time involved getting new employees up to speed. Each time an employee walks out the door, essential intimate knowledge of your business leaves with them.
What is effective organizational change management?
A change management plan can support a smooth transition and ensure your employees are guided through the change journey. The harsh fact is that approximately 70 percent of change initiatives fail due to negative employee attitudes and unproductive management behavior. Using the services of a professional change management consultant could ensure you are in the winning 30 percent.
In this article, PulseLearning presents six key steps to effective organizational change management.
1. Clearly define the change and align it to business goals.
It might seem obvious but many organizations miss this first vital step. It’s one thing to articulate the change required and entirely another to conduct a critical review against organizational objectives and performance goals to ensure the change will carry your business in the right direction strategically, financially, and ethically. This step can also assist you to determine the value of the change, which will quantify the effort and inputs you should invest.
• What do we need to change?
• Why is this change required?
2. Determine impacts and those affected.
Once you know exactly what you wish to achieve and why, you should then determine the impacts of the change at various organizational levels. Review the effect on each business unit and how it cascades through the organizational structure to the individual. This information will start to form the blueprint for where training and support is needed the most to mitigate the impacts.
• What are the impacts of the change?
• Who will the change affect the most?
• How will the change be received?
3. Develop a communication strategy.
Although all employees should be taken on the change journey, the first two steps will have highlighted those employees you absolutely must communicate the change to. Determine the most effective means of communication for the group or individual that will bring them on board. The communication strategy should include a timeline for how the change will be incrementally communicated, key messages, and the communication channels and mediums you plan to use.
• How will the change be communicated?
• How will feedback be managed?
4. Provide effective training.
With the change message out in the open, it’s important that your people know they will receive training, structured or informal, to teach the skills and knowledge required to operate efficiently as the change is rolled out. Training could include a suite of micro-learning online modules, or a blended learning approach incorporating face-to-face training sessions or on-the-job coaching and mentoring.
• What behaviors and skills are required to achieve business results?
• What training delivery methods will be most effective?
5. Implement a support structure.
Providing a support structure is essential to assist employees to emotionally and practically adjust to the change and to build proficiency of behaviors and technical skills needed to achieve desired business results. Some change can result in redundancies or restructures, so you could consider providing support such as counseling services to help people navigate the situation. To help employees adjust to changes to how a role is performed, a mentorship or an open-door policy with management to ask questions as they arise could be set up.
• Where is support most required?
• What types of support will be most effective?
6. Measure the change process.
Throughout the change management process, a structure should be put in place to measure the business impact of the changes and ensure that continued reinforcement opportunities exist to build proficiencies. You should also evaluate your change management plan to determine its effectiveness and document any lessons learned.
• Did the change assist in achieving business goals?
• Was the change management process successful?
• What could have been done differently?
Is your business going through a period of organizational change? PulseLearning can assist in managing the change process to meet business goals and minimize the associated impacts. PulseLearning is an award-winning global learning provider experienced in change management consultancy and developing engaging and innovative eLearning and blended training solutions.
1. Torbenrick – Change Management