Change Management is a structured approach for ensuring that changes are thoroughly and smoothly implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved.
While factors including new technologies, increased competition, market volatility, uncertain economies and increased regulation continue to drive the need for organizational change, the focus of change management today is on the wider impacts of change, particularly on people and how they, as individuals and teams, move from the current state to a new desirable future state.
True, while addressing outdated infrastructure, inefficient processes, budget pressures and low employee morale are staple factors driving change, increasingly the greatest drivers of organizational change for an enterprise are its greatest asset...its people.
A typical people-centric change management strategy addresses the need to manage the flow of information in a timely and effective manner.
An enterprise needs to know who its employees are, their level of impacts and how much support will be necessary to help them transition. An enterprise needs to engage employees effectively, consistently and with clarity - deploying a communications strategy.
The ideal approach to creating an effective communications strategy includes analyzing communication needs, planning communications, developing effective communication engagements and evaluating the effectiveness of communications efforts - all of which comprise a healthy outlook when it comes to engaging employees in accepting organizational change.
Questions to pose in order to develop effective communications and engagement include, but are not limited to:
- What communications are needed for each stakeholder group?
- How often will communications be sent?
- What is the best way to reach the target audience?
- Who is responsible for creating, approving, and distributing the communications?
- How will we inform and involve the stakeholders throughout the change?
- What level of engagement will be needed for each stakeholder group?
- What are the employees’ concerns, expectations, and recommendations?
When it comes to a change management initiatives, what are 6 goals of active and consistent employee engagement?
- Educate and Inform: Educational communications designed to inform and prepare potential users create and sustain workforce acceptance and adoption - thanks to a solid understanding of goals, objectives, benefits and enterprise-wide value.
- Ensure System Adoption: Organizational change communications designed to mitigate resistance to and promote acceptance of the changes associated with the project are driving elements in effective change management.
- Improve Issue & Risk Management: Communication forums utilized to address issues and manage risks to the project allow team members and individuals to be a part of the risk management component of organizational change.
- Gain Input & Participation: Communication forums utilized to exchange information among stakeholder groups are instrumental tools in developing and nurturing an open dialog supporting change management initiatives and project goals.
- Manage Expectations: By sharing reports designed to provide updates to and manage expectations of key stakeholders, all individuals and teams remain aware of changes and progress - keeping people engaged and accountable.
- Build Excitement: Promotional communications designed to market the project and its benefits are vital links in sustaining employee engagement, as well as encouraging change acceptance and support.
A properly implemented change management employee engagement strategy takes key people within an organization. As most organizations know, change is constant for a growing business. Individuals and teams must be considered during any significant organizational effort in order to ensure a highly effective workforce. After all, change management is all about maintaining more effective individuals and teams within a company...even as the organization goes through major structural changes.