Minimizing Disruption in Organizational Change Management
Change is a necessary part of any business. Quartly projections change, market focus shifts, and new projects need to be taken into account. Even though change is a constant and normal part of doing business, that doesn’t mean that it is always managed optimally.
Implementing changes for one team or an entire workforce can be a challenging endeavor. Some employees and organizations resist change. That’s why it’s important to have the right change management tools in order to minimize disruptions when changes occur.
Ready to get a handle on the next big change before things start to get tough? We have some advice that can help any team weather the coming changes at work.
Make the Case for Change
Do people in leadership or on different teams seem wary of implementing any changes? The problem may not be with the change itself. They may just not understand the “why” behind the change initiatives.
Many employees are naturally resistant to change because they’re worried about the impact it’ll have on their work. One solution for this resistance is to make a solid argument for the proposed changes that illuminates why the changes are necessary.
Help employees, managers, and people in leadership understand why the changes are being implemented; clearly articulating how the proposed changes tie into meeting overall company and team goals can make the change easier to gain momentum and get others on board.
Gather feedback from people on the current state of things to make an even stronger case. Once it’s shown how the proposed changes can have a positive impact, all of a sudden people are a lot more willing to follow plans.
Create a Plan
Making a plan isn’t as simple as putting a start day for work on the calendar. To make a comprehensive change management plan it’s important to examine everything from start to finish.
Think about the overall scope of the project and how much time and resources everything will take. Be sure to leave room for contingencies and on-the-fly adjustments in the scope so that key team members can easily roll with any adjustments that could occur.
Next, think about the stakeholders that will be needed to execute everything. Think about who the subject matter experts are and get them involved in the planning process early.
One important part people miss during the planning section is how they’re going to determine success. Think about the KPIs that will be measured to determine if the plan is working.
This can be a challenging process for one person or even a team to handle; particularly when considering that allocating time for planning and rolling out these changes will take away from the time for the team to work on their regular duties.
This is where working with professionals seasoned in change management consulting can be extremely helpful. Experts can help lay out the plan, identify any gaps, and lend their vast array of knowledge to change management work.
Minimize Potential Issues
Change can be hard to make at work because there are so many points where it could go wrong. Focus on reducing friction by working to stop problems before they start.
Communication is a major tripping point for most organizations in change management. Unclear direction on the proposed changes or a distinct lack of communication can hold up work. Focus on creating a feedback loop for people affected by the changes so it’s possible for them to ask questions and gain clarity on anything they need.
Implementing new technology can be another common area where organizations run into problems. People will need time to adapt to new tech, so be sure to phase it in over time so everyone can adjust. Also, be sure to invest in training to ensure everyone knows how to properly use it.
Implement and Evaluate
Most people assume that executing plans would be the easiest part of change management. However, this is where it’s more important than ever to think critically about the work that’s being done.
Make sure to gather plenty of feedback from the people involved to see how things are going. If things are taking too long it may be time to re-evaluate plans.
When problems are identified early in the process, teams have more time to make necessary adjustments that could be significantly more costly in the long run.
Plans may need to shift in order to meet important milestones. Consider the priorities of each project and the must-haves for each project involved.
Weave Change Into Culture
Sometimes even the best-laid plans can be no match for human habit. Some people find that the initial few weeks of the rollout went well, then over time individuals and groups may be reverting back to old habits and previous methodologies.
Giving the tools, training, and including adequate means for communication and gathering feedback can go a long way in achieving a more desirable outcome.
Make sure employees receive the appropriate training on new processes and new technologies and that the transitions have sufficient time to allow for adjustment and adoption. Consider incentivizing employees who adapt to changes quickly with praise from management. Create easily accessible documentation that people can reference if they have questions.
If people still aren’t adapting to changes, the plan may not have changed what matters the most. It may be time to go back to the drawing board to see if the team missed the mark and needs to focus on something else.
Once some time has passed and the changes have been implemented, it’s time to evaluate the work. What impact did the change have? What went according to plan? What fell short?
Reference the KPIs that were planned before the project rollout to see what hit the mark. Run a project retrospective to see the assessment from others to gain insight on how the organization could improve future changes.
Get Professional Change Management Help
Change can be challenging, but when it’s handled optimally it can also be rewarding. Having a sound change management plan can help weather even the most difficult changes. Organizations wanting a competitive edge should consider hiring professional help with change management consulting, particularly when large-scale change initiatives are outside of the management’s wheelhouse.
Does your organization have a project or change initiative on the horizon? Contact Zolicity. We handle change management the right way.