Change is the one thing that you can count on in today’s world. Whether your organization is pursuing change actively or is being forced to change due to external factors, with changes always taking place, businesses don’t have the option to stand still and survive. This means that processes, strategies, and systems in your workplace need to continuously evolve to ensure your organization remains competitive. Equally important to choosing the right solution is how you plan, prepare, and roll out that solution in your organization. No matter how great a new technology platform is, if nobody uses it, it can’t provide value. This is where the right change management approach is required.
What Exactly is Successful Change Management?
A carefully planned change management strategy should support and promote a smooth transition as well as help make sure that everyone in the organization will be guided every step of the way. But the harsh reality is that new technology initiatives often fail because of ineffective change management, miseducation, and negative attitudes. With this in mind, here are six practical and easy steps to ensure effective change management.
1. Make Sure That All Proposed Changes are Defined Clearly and Aligned to Specific Business Goals
It’s one thing to state what needs changing. But it’s another thing entirely to perform a critical and thorough evaluation against your organization’s performance goals and business objectives to ensure that the change could carry your organization on the right path. This step could also help you better define the value of the proposed changes and, in turn, help you in quantifying the inputs and efforts you need to invest.
2. Ask How, What, and Who Will Be Affected
Next, you should figure out how the changes will affect your organization as well as who and what will be impacted at different organizational levels. Assess how the change will touch each business unit and how it will flow down to each individual. You can then use this information to shape your support and training materials needed to help mitigate any immediate negative effects of the change.
3. Develop a Clear Communication Plan
Everyone in your organization is included in your change journey and, done right, the above steps will highlight which people require which level of communication. You then need to figure out the most effective communication strategy for each group, which must include key messages, a timeline for how you’ll incrementally communicate and roll out the change, as well as the specific communication methods you want to utilize.
4. Provide Sufficient Training and Support
Provide sufficient training to your organization that will give them the knowledge and skills needed to do their jobs efficiently while the change is being rolled out as well as after all changes are implemented. Your training and support plan could include online modules and blended learning methods that incorporate on-the-job mentoring and coaching, as well as face-to-face training sessions.
5. Select the Right Technology Supplier to Partner With
When shopping around for the right solution, businesses often focus the search solely on features, functionality and price. While it’s important to find the right tool for the job, equally important is selecting a technology supplier that is willing to be a true partner. A technology vendor that places importance on ensuring your team is set-up for success, that all groups have the proper training and materials needed, and that integrations are handled by experts using tried and true methods will be the difference between seeing value from this change or not. An easy way to ensure you are selecting a partner who values your success is to ask them about their adoption numbers.
6. Don’t Forget to Measure and Review the Change Management Process Regularly
Throughout your change management journey, you must have a structure in place for measuring the impacts of the changes and ensuring that you have constant reinforcement opportunities to build proficiencies. Lastly, you must continuously review your change management strategy to determine its results and effectiveness and take note of the lessons you have learned along the way.
Yes, the change could come across as intimidating. Still, as you have seen from the above, you can mitigate most risks by taking the time at the beginning of the project to plan and approach things logically. Initial confusion, resistance, and uncertainty are nothing when you have a unified organization that knows exactly where it’s headed and how to get there.