The Role of Change Management in the Modern Workplace
What is Change Management?
Change. It’s a word we encounter in both our personal and professional lives more times than we may seem to notice. In the past few years especially, companies have experienced rapid change on a global scale. In order to properly prepare for the transformation of an organization’s goals, technologies, and processes, it is crucial that businesses exercise their change management muscles within their projects or initiatives as often as possible.
Change management is commonly described as implementing strategies for understanding change, controlling change, and helping people adapt to change. In order for a change management strategy to be effective, it must consider how the change impacts processes, systems, and employees within an organization. It is imperative for there to be a process for communicating change, planning and testing change, implementing change, documenting change, and evaluating its effects on the organization.
Why is it Important?
Regardless of the change an organization is experiencing, there is always a need to support the people who are experiencing this transition from the current state to the future state. Furthermore, change practitioners need to understand how to influence each person to embrace and adopt this change. By exercising proper change management, business owners can significantly increase the chances of project and bottom line success.
According to Prosci, a global leader in change management, the following benefits have been found in regards to project outcomes when implementing proper change management:
Organizations are 6x more likely to achieve project objectives
Projects are 5x more likely to stay ahead or on schedule
Projects are 2x more likely to stay on or under budget
Furthermore, excellent change management has the following positive impacts on employees:
Employees are empowered to adopt changes faster
Employees are more likely to stay engaged during business transformation
Employees have a greater understanding of “why” the change is happening and see the value the change will bring
Employees feel supported and are equipped with the tools to implement change after project efforts
In summary, effective change management positively impacts project outcomes and prepares employees to fully embrace and implement business transformation.
A Popular Methodology: The ADKAR Model
One of the leading methodologies used in change management is the ADKAR Model. The ADKAR Model can be broken down into the following stages:
In this stage of the ADKAR model, change practitioners should focus on not only communicating the impacts of change but should also provide reasoning why the change is needed. It’s important to focus on the benefits of change and its impact on the people being affected. Always be sure to allow employees to ask questions so they can truly feel involved with the change process.
After employees understand why a change is being made, the next stage of the ADKAR model emphasizes the need for employees to desire that change. As a project leader, one can cultivate that desire by appointing leaders within the company to help advocate for the change. These individuals will relate to those most impacted by change and can provide specific guidance and support.
This stage in the ADKAR model revolves around education and training. Employees that are impacted by the change need to understand how responsibilities, tools, and processes will be impacted and how their daily routine may become different. By giving employees the knowledge they need, the proposed change is less likely to face resistance. Be sure to utilize a variety of employee training methods as each employee may learn differently.
This stage of the ADKAR model focuses on bridging the gap between understanding the change and ensuring that employees feel confident and able to make the change. In order to help employees feel confident in their capabilities, utilize change leaders as coaches for teams. As they work with their peers, be sure to collect feedback and identify potential obstacles to mitigate any future risk.
This final stage in the ADKAR model focuses on the time after the change or implementation is made. It’s easy to fall back into old habits, so it’s important to reinforce changes within the organization. Make sure to celebrate the "wins" and coach employees who may struggle to adapt. Continue to collect feedback so you can see where additional support may be needed.
Change management is an important consideration to keep in mind for any project or initiative. Change is inevitable, so make sure to take the necessary steps for your company to embrace the unknown and prepare for the future.