According to Gartner, the average modern organization has undergone five major firm-wide changes in the last three years. Change is the only constant, explaining why change management is vital for every business. Unfortunately, most companies struggle when it comes to big organizational shifts.
While these organizations may have change management strategies, they may experience setbacks, such as unprepared employees and failure to implement these strategies effectively.
Effective organizational change management drives employee buy-in for change within an organization. It allows employees to understand and commit to the transition and work effectively during it. More importantly, it keeps your organization from experiencing lost productivity, harm to its reputation, or negative financial consequences due to unexpected, drastic changes.
Let’s take a closer look at the need for and importance of organizational change management.
What Is an Organizational Change Management Process?
An organizational change management process consists of five steps: planning, preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. These steps lead an organization from a current state to a new desired one. The change management process is viable and effective when introducing new tech, rebranding, or restructuring your organization (just to provide a few examples).
Change typically affects the entire organization, and the change management process equips each employee with the necessary skills and tools to address the transition and succeed. It also involves setting expectations and ensuring everyone understands their role and responsibilities in this new stage.
According to Gartner, 75% of organizations expect to increase the types of significant change initiatives they will tackle in the next three years. Change can occur at any time, and, as such, having a change management process can keep your business operating smoothly at all times.
Here’s how change management can help you attain your goals:
- Effective change management can increase employee engagement and reduce frustration with your operational and technology changes.
- It guarantees employees’ feedback and time is respected.
- It minimizes the costs and risks of change.
- It optimizes project management and improves projects’ returns on investment.
- It builds consistency and efficiency in handling change as your organization scales up.
Despite the complexities, building a successful change management process is completely doable. It requires significant effort, but you can succeed through consistency and commitment.
Importance of Effective Change Management
Change management is the discipline that guides how you prepare, equip, and support employees to adopt change to drive organizational success. Effective change management allows organizational transitions to be smoother and less costly in terms of time and resources.
8 Benefits of Effective Change Management
These eight benefits highlight the multifaceted impact of well-implemented change management strategies. From enhancing professional credibility to mitigating employee burnout, each benefit underscores the integral role change management plays in nurturing a thriving, responsive, and forward-looking organization.
1. Consistent and Professional Approach
An organization that presents itself professionally gains credibility with its employees, customers, and prospective investors. A defined change management process helps businesses maintain their professionalism by providing a consistent and repeatable approach to dealing with changes.
2. Managing Change in an Organization Efficiently
If it’s not managed well, change can lead to new points of friction as employees try to adapt to new processes, technology, or ways of working (or they reject those changes outright). A change management plan will help identify potential friction points and address them before they arise so the change can be rolled out as efficiently as possible.
3. Maintain Trust Across the Organization
The ability to smoothly handle changes as they arise can build employees’ trust for your organization. Employees want a workplace where drastic changes are managed effectively and communicated transparently. Using a knowledge management platform, you can share your planned change management strategies to boost employee morale and confidence in the company.
4. Growth of the Organization
Change management helps businesses evaluate, redesign, and implement new business processes. Organizational growth and improving business processes is a never-ending journey. The ROI of improved business processes will depend on the type of process being optimized.
5. Training Employees Organization-Wide for the Changes
Change management involves preparing your employees for the prospect of other major and minor changes. It naturally trains employees across the organization to be ready for and handle any changes as they come. This eliminates the element of surprise and keeps your employees prepared for the future.
6. Employee Resistance Management
Barriers to organizational changes can manifest in several forms—employee resistance, technological constraints, budget constraints, lack of executive support, etc. Employee resistance is when an employee opposes change by not participating or making contrary choices, hindering success, employee morale, and productivity. Change management equips managers to facilitate shifts in the workplace.
7. Cost Management
Poorly managed projects can quickly exceed planned budgets, especially when they take longer than initially anticipated. Effective change management can help with cost management by anticipating and preventing any delays that may be caused by employee or leadership resistance.
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8. Employee Burnout Control
Low morale can be detrimental to your organization’s functioning and growth, especially if your employees are tired from dealing with organizational changes. Change management helps you communicate changes and roll them out smoothly so employees experience minimal disruptions and understand the long-term benefits of the change.
How Knowledge Management Helps
Any change management initiative requires clear and consistent communication across the organization. While your team may use several different communication channels, one tactic that can help is using a knowledge management platform to centralize updates and information about the change. This information should be displayed prominently in the platform (e.g., pinned on the homepage) so that it stays top of mind with your employees and shows that your organization values transparency. It could also be pushed out through notifications (both in the platform and over email or in a chat app like Slack or Microsoft Teams).
Giving all employees on-demand access to this information can help keep teams aligned during the period of change and ensure no one misses important updates, ultimately helping the change to go smoothly and start benefiting your organization sooner.