Change management is the set of actions and strategies used to accompany change and transformation within a company. The framework helps an organization manage change, step-by-step, in order to plan, prepare, deploy, measure and anchor successful and long-lasting transformation among all stakeholders.
Why is change management necessary?
Change management is a framework used to guide companies through micro and macro level changes in an organization. These frameworks help simplify projects; new business processes; tool deployment, organizational change and more.
Its primary benefit is to simplify the change process for all stakeholders and enable sustainable transformation. Without proper change management, transitions may encounter employee resistance and, in worst cases, failure.
What is the link between change management and digital transformation?
Why is it essential today to conduct change management?
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation and the adoption of digital technologies by several years. As a result, need to better prepare their workforce and stakeholders for change. Specifically, in the realm of digital transformation, change management plays a vital role in effectively implementing and integrating new tools and processes.
What if a company implements a new digital tool without incorporating change management:
After the deployment of the new tool, some users exhibit resistance to change, while others struggle with the transition. The absence of change management can lead to improper utilization of the tool and, in the worst-case scenario, complete abandonment.
Effective change in the workplace is often associated with employee stress, lack of trust, and project failure. However, the issue lies not in the change itself, but rather in how the change is implemented. Change management facilitates the transition by promoting communication, transparency, advocacy, digital culture, and agility, thereby increasing the likelihood of sustainable change.
Change management and digital tools
Without the guidance and support of a change management framework, employees may resist or struggle to embrace new tools. Insufficient or ineffective digital adoption can result in the rise of support requests, increased support costs, and additional pressure on technical support teams.
Who is affected by change management?
One of the first steps in a change management framework is to establish the different stakeholders involved in a project. The goal is to engage each stakeholder before, during and after the transition.
Change has consequences on two different levels:
- macro (at the global level of the company)
- micro (at the individual level)
If employees are well-supported throughout change and successfully adopt it, the company is more likely to achieve its transformation objectives.
Successful change is only achieved at both the macro and micro level. The needs of the employees, as well as those of the company, must be taken into account in the implementation of change management.
When employees receive adequate support and successfully embrace change, the company has a higher probability of accomplishing its transformation goals. Successful change occurs on both the macro and micro levels, and considers both employee and company needs during the implementation of change management.
What are the stages of change management?
Change management can be summarized in two words; support and communication, and broken down into 4 stages.
- Analyze the situation.
Making an initial diagnosis of the situation allows you to create clear and manageable objectives. This includes:
- Establishing the key players
- Identifying the needs of each stakeholder (change will affect each profile differently)
- Determining the expected outcomes
- Outlining all possible risks and project setbacks
- Communicate the change
Communication is just as important before, during and after deployment. When employees lack awareness of the change and its implications, resistance and distrust are likely to emerge as significant outcomes.
- Train employees.
Employee training is vital in the transition process. Training ensures employees aren’t left to their own devices without support. Training should be adapted to each stakeholder profile, depending on their needs and level of responsibility. An effective learning method that accompanies users through change is the Learning by doing methodology. It allows users to learn in practice.
- Calculate the impact.
Measure the objectives and KPIs outlined at the start of the project to calculate the rate of success. Use qualitative and quantitative metrics to understand your users and adapt the project going forward. A clear, step-by-step approach to change can effectively support stakeholders long term.
What are the challenges encountered during a change management process?
The main challenge and goal of change management is to reduce employee resistance to change.
70% of change management projects fail, mainly because of employee resistance.McKinsey
While not all employees will agree to a change, consistent support is the key to success. If employees believe leaders are implementing change in their best interests, are transparent about the factors driving change, and can display its value, it can considerably reduce resistance to change.