Change management can be a helpful tool for transforming your business from its current state to something that comes closer to your vision. It encompasses everything from coming up with an initial idea to reflecting on how well the finished change supports your company.
This process can significantly improve how your project management team handles changes of any size and can provide specific benefits to individuals, teams, and your organization as a whole. Many of these benefits of change management can also apply to more than one of these areas. They can help your organization make sure it is making the right changes and choosing the most strategic implementation methods.
Here is an overview of what change management is, why it’s important to your business, and how your teams can benefit.
What Is an Organizational Change Management Process?
Moving your business from what it currently looks like to what you want it to look like can be challenging, but following a series of defined steps can more effectively walk your team through this transition. This process, known as change management, can help you more effectively implement changes ranging from rolling out a new or updated piece of technology to completely rebranding your entire organization. Change management ensures that everyone impacted by your organization’s change receives thorough and transparent information about what is happening, its importance, and what to expect moving forward.
Steps in the Change Management Process
The change management process consists of five distinct steps that take any kind of change from an idea to a finished product.
Plenty of advance planning is a must to effectively implement organizational changes. During this step, your business’s change management team will determine how to make changes to best meet your goals. This stage will also allow your team to map out a timeline for implementing various aspects of each change and identify who will be responsible for each step to make the rest of the process go as smoothly as possible.
Preparation and planning bring everyone at your company in the loop about what changes are coming and what to expect. By this stage, your change management team should have as many details finalized as possible about what you want to do and how you plan to do it. Being as transparent as possible and sharing information with your employees is important in keeping their trust and ensuring they know what’s expected of them.
This step encompasses the bulk of transforming what your business looks like before changing into what you want it to become. Effective implementation requires your change management team to ensure they handle each aspect of your change correctly and your employees know how to adjust.
Not every change will go exactly how you want it to, even with sufficient planning and preparation. While this does not necessarily mean the change failed, it does mean that your strategy may need to be adjusted to get your outcomes closer to your goals. Your change management team will continuously monitor your change’s impact over several weeks, months, or longer and identify adjustments to make your change more successful.
With your change fully implemented and adjusted as needed, your change management team can evaluate how well it went for everyone involved and whether it successfully met the goals. This step also identifies any final changes and wraps up the process. Information your change management team gathers and assesses during the evaluation stage can modify how your organization selects, plans, and implements future changes.
Benefits of Change Management for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations
Many benefits of change management apply to individuals, teams, and organizations, but some are distinct to one of these groups.
Change management benefits individuals by improving efficiency, productivity, focus, and clarity. It helps them understand why a change is being made and how it will improve their work lives.
- Overcoming resistance: Clearly communicating that a change is coming–and getting feedback from employees along the way–will help ensure that you’re addressing any concerns and helping people feel confident that the change will benefit them.
- Developing internal champions: Having a change management process in place gives you the opportunity to identify internal stakeholders who see the value of the change and are happy to help champion it. Developing internal champions across different teams and in different roles can help ensure you get company-wide buy-in when you roll out the change.
- Increasing efficiency: A change management process can help your team anticipate potential roadblocks or points of resistance (and come up with a plan to overcome them) so that the change rollout goes smoothly and everyone is able to work efficiently.
Teams can also benefit from improved productivity, focus, clarity, and efficiency.
- Improving alignment: With everyone receiving the same information about the change, communication is stronger, and everyone is able to work towards the shared goal of the change.
- Improving collaboration: Your change management process should help people across different teams understand their role in the change and any expectations for new behavior after the change rolls out. This can help teams collaborate more effectively as they all play their part in making the change a success.
- Facilitating informed decision-making: Being transparent about the change gives everyone the information they need to make smart decisions. Additionally, clear communication across the organization will cut down on the number of repeat questions leaders have to answer, giving them more time to focus on high-priority activities and make informed decisions.
Organizations often find that effective change management helps them improve employee engagement, boost their overall efficiency, and achieve strategic goals.
- Improving employee engagement: When people understand the “why” behind the change and the direct impact on their work, they’ll feel more involved and invested.
- Increasing overall efficiency: A change management process gives you a clear step-by-step plan to optimize some aspect of your business. Clear communication helps everyone understand where and when they play a role so the implementation of the change goes smoothly and your organization starts benefiting from it sooner.
- Achieving strategic goals: When rolling out a change, it’s important to tie it to specific, measurable business goals. This will help you ensure you’re getting the outcome you want from it–and reinforce the value of the change by tying it to a specific business impact.
Tools and Resources for Implementing Change Management in Your Own Organization
There are many different tools and resources that can help your organization effectively implement change management. We’ve compiled a few examples below.
Project Management Software
Project management software can streamline the process of tracking each milestone and item your change management team is working on in one place. This can be a valuable tool for keeping every member of the project team on the same page, especially when everyone is working on different components of the project in tandem.
Surveys are a helpful tool for determining whether users are having the experience you want them to when implementing changes. Even well-planned changes are not always easy for your employees and customers, and knowing what is going well and what future changes they might like to see can help you adjust your changes to make them work even better for everyone involved. Although you can use software solutions that were created specifically for conducting surveys, free resources like Google Forms often work just as well.
Courses can help your team stay on top of emerging trends and best practices in the change management industry. They can be helpful in everything from teaching new hires basic techniques to keeping team members informed about new ideas as they develop.
Knowledge Management Software
Knowledge management software allows your organization to document new processes and share updates about changes in one central location. All content becomes searchable so employees can refer back to it at any time, and in a platform like Bloomfire, you can also create a custom homepage to display information related to an upcoming change front and center. Change management team members can also send out notifications about the change in the platform, over email, or in Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Having one centralized, searchable place to share information about an upcoming change helps keep everyone on the same page and establishes a sense of transparency, which is essential for maintaining trust and avoiding resistance.