To succeed in modern business, it’s essential to create a workplace culture that believes and invests in change. From technology, tools to the ever–evolving business goals, things are moving faster than ever before. In order to avoid stagnation, it’s important to be on the front foot and welcome innovation.
Change management is the motivation and ability to pivot, shift, and transform in order to meet the needs of the ever-changing business landscape.
What is change management?
Change management is a useful umbrella term that covers a wide range of internal processes implemented to prepare and support organizational growth and evolution. Change management is about people because, at the end of the day, it’s people that drive workplace culture and create business value. Whether you’re creating a new business, implementing new technologies, or expanding your operation through the adoption of new processes, people need to embrace change in order for it to be effective.
Change management includes the tools, techniques, and processes used to manage people and anticipate resistance. Often referred to as the soft side of change, human resource management is absolutely critical, undeniably challenging, and potentially transformative. Change management is both a process and a competency, and it needs to be approached equally as a set of moving targets and static skills.
When the people who define your organization have a healthy appetite for change, anything is possible.
Change management vs organizational change management
The modern approach to change management is largely based on organizational change management (OCM), which is used to define larger operational frameworks. While OCM considers the entire organization, change management refers to specific people and teams and how they are affected by transitions.
- Change management includes a variety of procedures to prepare and support individuals, teams, and organizations before, during, and after they go through transitions.
- OCM is a broad discipline that includes individual and team-based transitions, organizational initiatives, and wider structural and cultural reforms.
The many types of change management
There are many types of OCM, with different levels defined by their scope and operational framework. The following change categories have been defined:
- Adaptive change – These small, incremental changes are implemented in daily, weekly, and monthly business tasks and challenges. Adaptive change is about measuring and refining existing processes.
- Transformational change – These large-scale changes renew and evolve basic business structures. Transformative change is all-encompassing, from strategy to structure and execution.
- Hybrid change – Most change lies somewhere in between. Like most things in life, change is best understood and approached as a continuum. For example, specific incremental changes may have transformative potential over time.
When is change management needed?
Change management is absolutely essential in the modern business world, and it’s getting more critical all the time. The evolution of technology and business processes calls for sound change management strategies. The following examples highlight an array of diverse and essential use-case scenarios:
- New technology implementation
- The adoption of new business models
- New education and training methods
- New compliance obligations
- Business expansions
- Mergers & acquisitions
- Changes in leadership
- Shifts in organizational structure
- Changes in business culture
- Any kind of business crisis
Why change management matters
The business and technology landscapes are constantly advancing due to the model that cloud technology follows, ever-changing, ever evolving. Therefore, putting your head in the sand is no longer an option. From small procedural tweaks to extensive organizational restructuring, managing how people approach and adapt to change is an integral part of any shift and having change management processes in place to be ready to tackle all these changes is the best strategy to adopt. Additionally, people are often reluctant to change their current working methods due to insecurities – effective change management transforms fear into renewed ambition and opportunity.
Change management provides the following benefits:
- Increased workplace performance
- Improved procedural efficiency
- Enhanced employee satisfaction and loyalty
- Positive customer experience
- Increased workplace engagement
- Reduced staff resistance
- Enhanced innovation
- Reduced training costs
- Improved compliance
Change management best practices
There are many ways to promote healthy and productive changes throughout your organization. The following seven best practices offer a clear and well-defined path:
1. Define goals and make plans
Change management is about defining clear goals, making detailed plans, and promoting specific actions that align with these goals and plans. Business leaders and employees are more likely to act decisively and efficiently when they have something to reference.
2. Initiate top-down changes
In the business world, effective change always comes from the top. While innovation can spring directly from workers, change management is a top-down initiative with a highly defined set of goals. From the CEO to the executive group, management team, and individual workers, everyone needs to be on the same page.
3. Engage your people
While change management is a top-down process, it’s critical to engage people at every level to initiate effective change throughout your operation. Your employees need to understand your objectives in order to implement changes effectively. Offer advice, discuss problems, and listen to feedback. Analyze reports and use statistics to make your case and present your ideas to the masses.
4. Execute change management teams
Business changes are managed from the top and worked from the bottom, so translation is important. In order to ensure accurate and effective changes, it’s important to recruit and engage special teams. These people understand the need for change and will support the process through thick and thin. Change management teams need to have good communication skills, active personalities, and, above all else, a strong desire to promote change.
5. Communicate and inspire
Meaningful and sustained change requires total commitment and constant communication. From initial preparation to implementation and follow-through, effective change demands sound management, regular chatter, and tight feedback between planning and execution. The better you’re able to communicate your ideas, the more effective they will be.
6. Training and education
While having a positive approach to change is important and communicating your ideas is essential, formal training and education also has a role to play. Whether you’re implementing a new software system or adopting an entirely new service, training sessions and workplace education programs promote healthy adaptation and foster future growth.
7. Evaluation and refinement
Change, by its very definition, is a moving force that pivots and shifts with the surrounding environment. Adopting a static attitude to change is likely to stop knowledge in its tracks, creating procedural bottlenecks and preventing the future evolution of your business. Healthy change demands constant evaluation, continual refinement, and smart integration with existing systems. Through iteration, new metrics will become available to improve processes and enhance the nature of the change management process.
Change is the only constant in life, with this eternal force influencing every aspect of the business world. Change management is about maintaining control of your existing systems while inspiring and enabling people to make smart future decisions. When you manage the people who define your business and you influence their aptitude for change, you can stay ahead of the curve and transform opportunities into real business value.
If you want to manage change in your workplace, please reach out to Softlanding and ask how we can help.