International Organizational Change Management Institute
The role of best practice in planning your next change initiative– ensuring your change journey stays on track
Frederick Reynecke, Change Management Expert
Ensuring your change journey takes off successfully (Part 2 of a 2 part series)
In the first article I highlighted four Prosci research results. In this article I’ll continue to discuss the remaining three factors.
Just to recapture the 7 success factors again.
According to Prosci’s research the following seven factors are the top contributors to success:
- Active and visible executive sponsorship
- Structured change management approach
- Dedicated change management resources
- Integration and engagement with project management
- Employee engagement and participation
- Frequent and open communication
- Engagement with middle managers
The fifth reason we apply Change management is to drive employee adoption and usage, which in turn generates organizational results and outcomes.
Making employees aware of the need for change (e.g. communication and events)
- Conducting training (about new process, technology or whatever people will do differently)
- Involving employees in the project design (e.g. project team, SME)
- Hosting special events that promote the change (e.g. road show, demo)
The goal of these efforts is to build an employee base that demonstrates a willingness to participate in the change and collaborates with the people administrating the change. Change requires individuals to do their jobs differently; so forth is reason, it is important to make an intentional change plan for the frontline employees whose jobs are changing. If you miss this step, expect resistance from this group. Study participants identified frontline employees as the second most resistant group. However, over 50% of participants believed atleast half of this resistance could have been avoided with better change management.
Change management is “just communications”; this is a misconception! Although change is much more than that, effective communications are critical to leading change successfully. As the sixth greatest contributor to success, frequent and open communications include:
- Delivering change messages in a timely and transparent manner
- Using effective channels and communicating frequently
- Tailoring messages for the intended audience
- Including clear and compelling reasons for the change and the implications of not changing
While the change practitioner is responsible for creating the communications plan and making sure it is carried out, they shouldn’t be the one doing the communicating. Participants identified the groups that employees prefer to hear change messages from as:
- Senior/executive management
- Head of Department
Top functions served by complementary roles are:
- Internal Communications Group
- Key messaging
- Project team member
- Human Resources Business Partners
- Coaching and support
- Project advisors
- Internal Consultants •
- Change management experts
- Subject matter experts
- Business Analysts
- Impact assessment
- Subject matter experts
- Organization Development
- Training •
- Technical and cultural expertise
- Gaining the buy-in and involvement of middle management (to ensure positive interactions with frontline employees)
- Frequent meetings and one-on-one communication (to ensure managers’ continued support)
- Training and coaching managers on their roles (to prepare them to be effective change leaders)
Middle managers as the seventh factor were considered to be the most resistant group in Prosci’sstudy.Similartoemployeeresistance,mostparticipantsbelievedamajorityoftheresistanceexperiencedbymanagerscouldhavebeenavoided.Thisisnotsurprisingasthestudyalsofoundthat65%ofparticipantssaidtheirorganizationsdidnotadequatelypreparemanagerstoleadchange.
Effective change management requires involvement and action by many in the organization.
The change management resource on a project plays the role of enabler; the conductor of the orchestra or the director of the play, but is not the accountable person. The business leader and sponsor must take this responsibility.
The following actions can go a long way to ensure success. Define clear roles and responsibilities to provide a framework for accountability and clarity for all stakeholders:
- Apply a structured change management process
- Have sufficient resources on the team to implement change management
- Your change management activities should be customized and scaled to fit the change and the organization being changed
- The change management team must have the necessary training and expertise in change management
- Integrate your change management activities into the project plan
- Your business leaders must fulfill their roles as effective change sponsors throughout the entire project
- Implement an effective communications plan
- Managers and supervisors must be engaged in the change and effectively coach their employees through the change process
- Provide the necessary training to employees on new processes, systems and job roles
- Senior leaders, mid-level managers and supervisors manage resistance to change effectively
- Measure compliance with the change and your overall performance in meeting project objectives
- Effectively reinforce the change with employees through recognition, performance measurement and celebrations
I hope these Prosci research results have given you some food for thought to make sure your next change journey stays on track.
Keep the change!