Change management is a proactive approach to preparing all individuals within a company for a range of organizational changes.
Whether your company is restructuring, expanding, or rebranding, long-term change is to be expected throughout all modern industries.
Sustainable and successful companies make the most of these transition periods and thrive to become bigger and better businesses. In many cases, part of this success is attributed to a well-developed, comprehensive change management plan.
For a change management plan to be successfully implemented, all tiers of an organization must be actively involved. Organizational changes can have a significant impact on the daily lives and jobs of employees, so it’s critical that they have the information and tools needed to transition into a new professional environment.
However, a study completed by Leadership IQ demonstrated that only ⅓ of management openly share business-related challenges, leaving many employees feeling uninformed and pressured during times of significant organizational change. As a future-forward leader, it’s up to you to ensure that your change management procedures engage your employees and allow them to navigate any change with ease.
For leaders looking to manage organizational changes by putting employees first, utilize the following 10 pillars of change management:
1. Put Change-Based Processes In Place
In some transitional periods, executive-level leaders will have to make proactive decisions to promote high-potential employees into leadership positions and change what jobs others are doing. Implementing a change management plan requires a systematic process that allows leaders to make decisions based on accumulated data and careful planning.
2. Lead By Example
Leaders are expected to support and guide their employees, and this is no different during times of extensive company changes. Upper-level executives are responsible for initiating organizational changes and aligning the business with its refined vision and desired results.
3. Mobilize Change from the Bottom-Up
A department is a collection of individuals, each of whom has a specific role and stake in the business. By implementing the first stages of strategic change at the departmental and individual level, employees can familiarize themselves with new skills or responsibilities while being fully supported by their leaders. Change management plans should account for the duties of every professional role and equip individuals with the tools and skills needed to create larger change moving forward.
4. Define Your Vision
Whether your organization is restructuring or merging with another company, a well-defined vision is necessary to create a change management plan that aligns with the mission of your business. C-Suite and departmental leaders should all participate in a conversation to define the vision of the business to position the company for success after the transition.
5. Create a Comprehensive Communication Strategy
In the midst of change, miscommunication is common. This is why it’s vital that leaders create a communication strategy that demonstrates the scope of changes for all employees and helps cultivate a better understanding of the changes. Ideally, a communication strategy will articulate:
- Details of upcoming changes,
- Why changes are necessary for company-wide success, and
- How employees can actively participate in a productive dialogue surrounding the changes.
6. Help Employees Understand Changes
Without proactive change management or a communication strategy, employees may feel ill-informed and disconnected from the organization. It’s up to leaders to make sure that their teams understand any change through an accessible communication strategy, as well as through personal discussion sessions.
7. Time Changes Correctly
Not only is it important to implement organizational change at the right place, but at the right time. Complete your change management plan with an estimated timeline to ensure that transitions are on-track and coordinated with all individuals involved.
8. Include a Training Plan
Similarly to how communication strategies are vital for sustainable change, employees will benefit from training plans if their position is directly affected by the organizational change. These plans should include accessible information surrounding the goals, skills, and steps for success in the employee’s new position.
9. Expect Challenges
Even organizations and leaders with experience in change management can run into challenging situations during various stages of transition. However, communication and proactive problem solving can help ease the intensity of these challenges and find innovative solutions to unexpected circumstances.
10. Focus on Human-Centric Change
No leader or organization can be successful without the dedication of every individual in the company. Change is not a one-day process, but a long-term transitional period that will affect all individuals differently. Make sure that every department and tier has a thorough understanding of:
- Why changes are occuring,
- How the changes will be carried out, and
- How each person will be affected.
Trust is vital within a flourishing organization, so leaders should be transparent and honest with all employees.
Change affects individuals differently, but with accessible resources and compassionate support, your organization can manage change more effectively.
We use the Change Style Indicator® (CSI) to help people understand how they deal with change, how others approach change, and how your team can work together to overcome challenges. Become certified in the Change Style Indicator® (CSI) and learn to identify how individuals/teams deal with change and how to shift behaviors and manage change more effectively.