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 necessary in preparation of any change within a company, both on a micro and macro level. Change management simplifies projects; new business processes; tool deployment, organizational change etc.
The added value of change management is to simplify change for all stakeholders and facilitate sustainable transformation. If a transition is not accompanied, the change project could experience employee resistance and worse, 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. Companies today need to better prepare their workforce and stakeholders for change.
In the context of digital transformation, change management is essential when new tools and processes are updated or introduced.
Let’s take the example of a company that deploys a new digital tool without implementing change management:
A new tool has been deployed, and some users show signs of resistance to change, while others find it difficult to transition to the new tool. A lack of change management can result in incorrect use of the tool and, at worse, abandonment.
Prepared change in the workplace is often linked to employee stress, distrust, and project failure. But it’s not the change itself that is the problem, and rather how the change is implemented. Change management supports the transition by increasing communication, transparency, advocacy, digital culture and agility, increasing the chances of sustainable change.
Change management and digital tools
In the process of selecting the right tools for digital transformation, change management is essential.
Without the support provided of a change management framework, employees can resist or negatively adopt new tools. Low or ineffective digital adoption can lead to increased support requests, support costs and pressure on technical support teams.
Who is concerned by change management?
One of the first steps in a change management framework is to help establish the different stakeholders involved and concerned with a project. The goal is to involve each stakeholder before, during and after the transition.
Change management has consequences on two different levels:
- macro (at the global level of the company) and
- micro (at the individual level).
If employees are well-supported in the 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.
What are the stages of change management?
Change management can be summarized in two words: support and communication. Here are a few steps that are essential to good change management.
Let’s break down change management into 4 steps:
- Analyze the situation.
Making an initial diagnosis of the situation allows you to create clear and manageable objectives.
- Establish the key players;
- identify the needs of each stakeholder (change will affect each profile differently);
- Determine the expected outcome;
- Outline all possible risks and project setbacks;
- Communicate the change.
Communication is just as important before, during and after deployment. If employees are unaware of the change and all that it entails, resistance and distrust are likely outcomes.
- Train employees.
Employee training is vital to assist the transition process. Training ensures employees are not 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.
- 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 measurables to understand your users and adapt the project going forward.
A clear and step-by-step approach to change management 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.