For your business to enjoy continued success, it needs to be able to adapt and evolve. Most businesses experience organisational change at one stage or another, in response to economic factors, technology, growth and more.
Having an effective change management plan is crucial to ensure success. Organisational change will have the biggest impact on your employees, so it’s important to put a plan in place that shows employees they’re valued, that also takes into account their thoughts and opinions.
How can you plan for effective organisational change in your business? Here are some of the key steps to ensure success.
Outline your plan for change and set goals
Every business has something that it is looking to achieve. Understanding the aims of your business and its ambitions will give your business a purpose and something to work towards. For your employees, it helps them understand what their work contributes to and gives them something to take pride in, too. Setting business goals can involve both long and short-term goals, and they may change over time.
When it comes to planning for change, you need to clearly define the changes you want to make and establish how they’ll fit in with your business goals. Defining the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ can help set a clear direction for your changes, allowing you to explore the different options and choose the plan that makes the most sense.
Conduct an impact assessment
Making significant changes to your business isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of planning and mapping to ensure that the process is carried out effectively at every stage. You can learn a lot from systems such as ORAT to help make the transition as smooth as possible. It’s also vital that you have a change management team in place who can lead the process and become key points of contact for anyone who needs it.
Conducting an impact assessment will be a crucial part of the change process. You should plan for how the proposed changes will affect every level of your organisation, including your employees. You should also consider the impact it could have on any external factors, such as your stakeholders and your customers or clients. You need to assess how you will be able to keep your business running smoothly while the process is taking place.
Plan your communications
Effective communications are important at every stage of the planning process. Your communications plan needs to ensure that people are fully informed about each stage of the process and that those delivering the message earn the trust of those involved. Poor communication is often cited as one of the failures of a change management programme, but you can buck the trend by planning your communications in detail.
Change communications should encompass a range of different platforms. Initial meetings are important to address multiple people at once, while you should also consider email and written communications, and an online portal where people can find and access information about the changes.
While sharing information is important for helping everyone understand the purpose and process of change, you also need to be in a position to receive information. Those involved and affected should be allowed an opportunity to provide input and ask questions. You should give employees different methods of providing feedback, including in-person or via email or surveys. Remember to provide context to what you’re doing so that everyone can understand exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve and why.
Provide training where needed
In some cases, organisational change will require some training to get employees up to speed with new systems and processes. Training opportunities can provide an opportunity to break things down for smaller groups, giving individuals the chance to share their views amongst a smaller audience while also educating them and training them on how the change is going to work.
To provide effective training, you’ll need to identify the skills you need to achieve your goals and bring in the right kind of training methods. This is also your opportunity to bring in those with the expertise to get your teams on board.
Put support in place, and be prepared for resistance
No matter what your organisational changes are, you need to make sure there is support in place for those who may need it. If there are potential changes to staffing and possible redundancies, you may need specialist support to help your employees through a difficult time.
Even minor changes require support to help with onboarding and ensure that employees feel secure and confident moving forward. Establishing a mentoring programme can also help employees navigate any changes.
Asking your employees what support they’d find beneficial can also help make your change programme more effective. Some employees will require different levels of support compared to others, and you’ll be in a better place to offer it to them if you establish everyone’s wants and needs.
Put an evaluation plan together
Organisational change can be a long process, consisting of multiple elements. Having an evaluation plan will help you measure success throughout the project, allowing you to adapt your plans at different stages if required.
There is a lot you can learn about your business through any change management process. Understanding whether the change met your initial aims is important and can help inform future decision-making too. Your change management evaluation will take place over a long period, giving you the time to measure the impact of the changes on the business.
You will also get the chance to look at the lessons learned from the process. What went well? What went wrong? These lessons will help you improve future approaches, including your business’ communications.
Organisational change can be complex, but having a plan in place will help make the process much more effective. A plan that has been considered in detail is more likely to be adopted and accepted across your business, and it’s important to make the process transparent and collaborative to maintain the trust of your employees. They say a change will do you good, so make sure your organisational change is managed in the best interests of your business.