What is change management?
Change management is the systematic approach for dealing with a change, transition, or transformation in the workplace. There are many possible ways in which an organization can change: The implementation of new technology, leadership changes, mergers, acquisitions, culture transformations, and times of crisis. So, we’ve laid out the basic groundwork for effectively managing change during any occasion.
4 Change Management Tactics
1. Start with a positive leader
One of the best places to begin is with an active and visible leader who can guide your company. Participants in a Prosci study cited this as the greatest contributor to a successful change management initiative. In fact, it won by a longshot! Positive leaders can advocate for the change, vocalize the needs, and bring people together in support of the mission. Change can be met with some resistance and hesitancy, which means unifying employees is crucial for a smooth transition.
2. Prepare a structure and resources
Decide on a particular methodology to reference and create a structured plan. A more organized approach will guide you throughout your change management journey. Plus, you’ll have a customizable template for handling future changes. Next, prepare by devoting funding and resources to change management. This includes having a specific team of experienced and decisive individuals.
Note: Unfortunately, there may be certain changes for which you won’t be able to prepare at all (thanks COVID-19). Yet, having a general structure and resources set aside will help ease some difficulties.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
As the (very true) cliché goes, communication is key! Be transparent with your employees to cultivate trust. To remain transparent, communicate frequently, openly, and consistently. In addition, leverage multiple channels of communication, including posts in your internal social engine. Emails and formal meetings have their importance, but sprinkle in some engaging, lighthearted posts when appropriate.
What exactly should you be communicating? Talk to your employees about the reasons for the change, expectations, long-term plans, and how they will be impacted. Especially emphasize the benefits that the change will bring!
4. Engage ALL employees
As we’ve touched on, it’s important to help employees understand why change is necessary and how they will be affected. Front line employees will likely be the most impacted and possibly the most resistant. Equip them with the right tools and training as needed. Throughout everything, continue to reinforce how they will benefit in the long run.
Your middle managers are closest to the front line employees being impacted, so engage them too. Help them understand their crucial role as leaders. Provide materials, tools, and frequent leadership team meetings.
Change may look different within each organization. And within one organization, each change may look different, too. However, a great place to start is with active leadership, preparation, communication, and engagement. Most importantly, be intentional when utilizing these tactics evaluate along the way to continue fine-tuning your change management approach.