For many organizations, crafting a plan to drive change seems impossible. In truth, they don’t even envision the idea of creating one at all. What does “change management process” even mean?
Most companies operate on the assumption that change is something to be pushed through and dealt with as it happens.
But, in reality, this causes many problems and results in inefficient business strategies while also leaving employees feeling confused and frustrated.
You can’t expect everyone to just “go with the flow” whenever something changes, especially when it relates to a critical business process.
Even with all the resources available today, we find that many organizations driving change lack a change management process plan.
Even with a plan, up to 70% of change initiatives fail. We have had countless conversations with leaders who pursued a dream or ambition that ended up in frustration and chaos.
Beyond generating too much stress on the people, processes, and systems, driving change can lead to attrition and huge financial losses.
Fortunately, change management processes were developed to alleviate these issues in one fell swoop.
This article will explain what change management is and how it can benefit organizations far and wide.
What is Change Management?
Change management is a systematic process used to transition individuals, teams, and entire organizations from their present state to their desired future.
That desired future can be something other than a business transformation or a complete company reorganization.
A desired future can start small with goals such as adopting a new software tool to gaining traction on your new, company-wide recycling program.
To achieve this, change management, as a practical concept, applies tools and techniques that facilitate change while minimizing any interference with business processes, technology systems, job roles, or other at-risk components of your business.
Change management aims to verify that changes are applied smoothly, productively, and resiliently, so goals can be accomplished, and objectives achieved.
Having a change management process is vital to surpass or minimize the productivity dip generated whenever new ways of working are adopted.
To ensure success, stakeholders must:
- Engage in the process.
- Assess the effects of change.
- Communicate with customers (when relevant) and staff members.
- Identify risks and potential resistance to it/them.
- Monitor progress to make sure change incorporates into organizational processes and culture.
Responding to the dynamic business atmosphere, technological advancements, and ever-evolving customer wants is essential for organizational success.
Change management makes this possible by allowing organizations to stay agile and current with their strategies.
Benefits of Change Management
Moving your organization or team towards a future state typically requires careful analysis of risks and benefits.
If your project (transformation, implementation, etc.) is approved, you will want to expedite the process to get the expected results faster.
Having a strategy for managing change avoids the requirement for rash decisions and allows you to evaluate alternatives more thoroughly.
Doing so can reduce missteps, guarantee that required adjustments are carried out correctly, and verify that no resources are thrown away.
Furthermore, by dividing change into smaller pieces, you allow for smoother testing and implementation. This suggests that transformations can be implemented more quickly and with fewer issues.
Improved Employee Engagement
When changes are imposed abruptly and without proper communication, it can leave employees feeling uncertain and discombobulated.
We all know how disruptive unexpected change can be when there’s no clarity or explanation behind it.
Building a structured change process ensures that your employees remain current and aware of any modifications which may impact them.
This way, they gain the sense that they are being incorporated into the decision-making procedure instead of simply receiving orders without knowledge as to why it is necessary.
Upskilling employees must be integrated into the change process as a crucial part of the success of the change. Your team needs to have the skillsets to execute their new tasks.
They must understand the new process and expectations of how things will be done moving forward.
Upskilling, as a part of your process, will result in new capabilities and more engaged team members.
Risk. It’s something we all try to avoid. Yet, it’s a part of life. It exists in every single business process and changes only heighten the risk associated with any strategy or action.
A systematic change management process helps to reduce risks by identifying potential bottlenecks and issues before any elimination or modification is carried out.
Having clear steps for managing modifications also provides an audit trail, so if anything goes wrong, the organization can determine where the errors occurred and take corrective action.
When developing your plan, you will identify potential risks and potential solutions. When risk arises, you will have the solution or the processes to take action and address it.
Smooth Transition Process
Achieving a smooth transition requires an excellent change management strategy.
Such strategies guarantee that the transformation from one system to another is as effortless and straightforward as possible while also making sure employees are suitably knowledgeable on any new features or systems.
You must work together, setting aside time to evaluate and communicate the changes with everyone involved.
Taking this step will guarantee that your personnel are aware of the updates and have time to prepare.
It also fosters a relationship based on trust between departments as they collaborate to ensure an effortless transition.
Increase Productivity and Morale
Earlier, we mentioned that having a structured change management process can increase employee engagement. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of productivity and morale.
A well-defined process can give employees the tools they need to stay focused, productive, and upbeat during times of flux.
It reduces the distraction associated with learning new information on their own while also enabling them to remain confident and motivated when tackling the challenges associated with change.
Just 15% of employees strongly agree that their organization’s leadership makes them feel enthusiastic about the future. Challenge the norm by engaging your team to be part of the change.
Minimize the Resistance
Change can be difficult and uncomfortable for employees.
However, implementing a unified change management process ensures that everyone involved is aware of the reasons why changes are necessary in the first place.
A structured communication plan will help you monitor the effectiveness of the communication while managing the impact of the change.
A key tool in your communication plan is the change story. The story converts goals and ambitions into a digestible narrative. During times of rapid change and uncertainty, your change story can become the beacon of light that cuts through the confusion and leads people forward together.
According to Gallup:
• Only 13% of U.S. employees strongly agree that their organization’s leadership communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.
When employees are given the rationale behind any changes, they are more likely to understand and accept them. Understanding what lies ahead and that it will be a constructive move can help diminish potential upheaval.
Manage the Cost of Change
Change can be expensive. Mishaps and delays are common when it comes to implementing any new strategy or system.
These mishaps often translate into increased costs, wastage of resources, and missed deadlines.
By utilizing a well-defined change management plan, you can reduce the cost associated with change by managing developments more efficiently. This ensures that only necessary changes are made, and the transition is as streamlined as possible.
At the end of the day, the goal of any change management process is to ensure that changes are properly managed and executed. Ideally, the process results in a better future for your team and organization.
A defined approach to handling modifications can bring clarity and order to an otherwise chaotic situation while improving employee engagement and confidence in your organization’s decision-making process.
Your goal is to manage change smoothly, ensuring the negative impact on your people and customers is minimal to none.
We highly recommend implementing a change management process to maximize the efficiency of your business, reduce risk, and ultimately achieve smoother transitions.
A unified approach to managing change can help you reap the rewards associated with transformation while minimizing disruption and cost.
We hope this article has helped you better understand why an effective change management process & strategy is so important for businesses.
What important benefits have you achieved using a defined change management process?