Change is inevitable. While that simple sentence may seem to state the obvious, it is, nonetheless, true both in our personal lives and within our organizations. We face change whenever an employee leaves, whenever we on-board a new client, whenever we add new products and services, or whenever we update our strategic plan. But how can we make change manageable within our organization? Simple: we employ change management strategies, like incorporating the change management consulting hacks featured below.
These are the top three things your organization can do to manage change in the workplace more effectively.
[Related article: 7 Signs Your Business Needs a New Strategic Plan]
1. Plan and prepare.
Just as you would scope a project before you would bid on it, or you would outline the steps for a new product launch, it’s important to plan for any changes you plan to make within your organization. Not only does planning make organizational change efforts more successful, but it makes the change process easier to navigate. It also makes it much easier to partner with an outside change management consulting firm since they’ll have a clear idea of what you’re looking to accomplish.
What does this mean in plain English? Take the time to identify what you need to change and create a plan of attack. With inadequate planning, your team is likely to be less productive and more disengaged during the change process, so take the extra time to make sure your plan is detailed.
2. Address how the change will affect employees.
The most challenging aspect of organizational change is how it affects your employees, both practically and emotionally. Practically, improving a process or transforming your business might mean your employees have to process paperwork in a different way than they’re used to. Or maybe they have to remember to follow different steps than they’re used to. Or perhaps they have to analyze different metrics when they submit a revenue report.
However, the emotional effects of change can be the greatest stressors. Your employees might feel frustration not only because it initially takes them longer to follow the new process but also because they liked the old process. They might even feel anxiety about the change because they don’t know what it means.
For this reason, we encourage business leaders to be transparent with their employees when they are rolling out a new change within the organization. Explain why the change is happening, how it will make the business more successful, and seek input. Listen to your employees and their concerns, and address any fears they have about the process.
CrossGen Solutions change management consulting pro tip: As a business leader, we also suggest you become familiar with the four primary steps of the Change Curve. You’ll be able to help your team more adequately navigate any ongoing organizational change as a result.
3. Reinforce the change.
Another sticky point during the change process is making sure the change, well… sticks. Without any way to reinforce the new change or process, employees will be tempted to return to their old habits, which will consistently undermine the effectiveness of the improved process.
To reinforce this new change, make sure to remove any enablers of the “old way.” If your team had forms, checklists, or manuals describing the way they would formerly complete a process, discard them. It’s important that you only have access to resources that instruct your team on how to complete the process the new way. Discarding these outdated resources and having ongoing training for the new process will help ensure long-term success.
People change management is important. All organizations, and people, go through the change process in different ways and at different rates, but by working with your employees to accelerate the Change Curve, you’ll see more long-term success. You’ll also see happier employees.
There are a number of steps you can take as a business leader to accelerate the change curve like walking your employees through how the change may affect their daily routine or work tasks. However, sometimes, the prospect of making a change within your organization is overwhelming and having some assistance can make the process easier. In that case, your organization may want to consider partnering with a change management consultant who can guide your team.
To learn more about our change management consulting services for Wisconsin-based businesses, like those in the greater Madison area, contact us today to schedule your complimentary initial consult.
P.S. Need help with the planning piece before you make the change or improve your processes? Learn more about our strategic planning approach or our half-day and full-day packages to see if our strategic planning services are right for you.
P.P.S. Not sure if your business could benefit from change management or strategic planning services? Check out our FREE assessment that will audit the health of your current strategic plan.
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