Change management is a structured process for implementing new tools, systems or roles within a company. It guides this process towards a desired outcome. By supporting people in the business to adopt new ways of working, organisations can become more agile and productive through this period of transformation.
Without a carefully planned and structured approach, change can result in chaos. Employees need to be taken along the journey with the appropriate amount of communication. Change needs to be carefully planned so as to cause minimal disruption to workflows and business as usual.
It also needs to be implemented strategically, with clear milestones and measurements in place. This helps to monitor the pace of change, ensuring that the right balance of change brings the organisation swiftly into its new status quo.
Change management requires employee buy-in
Change can bring about resistance among employees who are set in existing ways of working. It may require staff to set aside tried and tested ways of working in favour of unfamiliar tools or processes. This can result in cognitive fatigue as teams need to put more effort into how they do their jobs.
With any big transition, there is an inevitable reduction in productivity as the existing status quo is challenged. However, this can be alleviated with appropriate change management interventions.
A key feature of change management is proper planning and communication. Staff need to be engaged in the process from the onset so that they are aware of the upcoming changes and have a chance to voice any concerns. Getting staff buy-in goes a long way to prepare them for the process. Employees will feel more invested if they have been part of the process from the beginning.
For change to bring about a satisfactory return on investment, the process needs to be guided from start to finish by an expert team. Through the change management process, leaders can uncover organisational problems that need to be addressed. This can breathe new life into a company – dusting out the cobwebs and preparing for forward movement.
Improved communication and collaboration
Disrupting normal ways of working can cause confusion and anxiety, so to mitigate this, change management involves a strong focus on communication and collaboration. Bringing staff together means breaking down silos, addressing interpersonal issues and making sure everyone is heading towards the same common goal.
Clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs), strategies and targets help to create a safe space in which change can take place seamlessly. It’s important to control and monitor the variables to ensure that employees are appropriately informed and guided throughout the process, even with continued support after the training sessions.
The change management process can create a sense of purpose. Having a shared vision serves to reduce friction and improve collaboration among staff. With everyone working toward making the project a success, teams are more easily motivated.
Learning to deal with change gives staff the skills they need to keep on innovating. Performance increases when people feel supported and understand the change process. Having gone through a change management process, employees will be more adaptable and agile moving forward. This sets companies apart in today’s competitive business world as employees will be able to respond quickly to customer demands and changing market conditions.
Change management leads to more strategic decision making
As part of change management, companies can choose to include leadership training. This serves to strengthen leadership skills and develop better awareness. Equipping managers and executives with new tools and soft skills can help them in their management of employees.
Through suitable training, leaders can improve their emotional intelligence (EQ) – an essential component of decision making. Leaders with a higher EQ are able to navigate challenges and come up with solutions more effectively.
There are many skills connected to decision making. Developing these skills will naturally lead to better capabilities. Leaders need to learn how to problem solve. Taking a neutral stance and focusing on the relative details can helps leaders to make decisions more efficiently.
With proper planning and organisation, leaders can improve their time management and organisational skills too. Knowing what tasks to prioritise and delivering status reports on time ensures that leaders can make the right decisions at the right time.
Taking a structured approach to change
Adopting a change management process offers a number of key benefits to businesses. If properly executed, change management will reduce costs while boosting performance. Engaging employees in the process ensures that they are invested and motivated.
Change requires careful planning and management to minimise the effect on existing workflows and business. With appropriate training, employees at every level of the organisation can benefit from the process, learning new skills along the way. For more information about our services, please contact us today.
Can!do works with large enterprises South Africa to maximise the value of their employees, technology and business processes. To do this, we offer three fundamental services; change management, capability development and performance optimisation.
We have 30 years of experience in these fields and have worked with leading companies in South Africa. We are a certified Level 2 B-BBEE company and a leading provider of new business systems and processes that drive user adoption. For industry insights and news, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.