Sometimes, organizations need to improve their performance, solve some issues, or start projects and take advantage of certain opportunities. Most of the time, they need change to get things done. These changes can be of all sorts, starting from job descriptions and employee responsibilities to organizational matters. For this, a company needs change management, and a deep understanding of this process.

Post-its taped on a wall

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So what is the definition of change management and how does it work?

What does change management mean?

Change management is a way to deal with the transition from one previous state of the company to another. This transition can occur between goals, responsibilities, or processes. Change management is made up of a series of strategies to impose these changes, get people used to it, and keep everything under control.

In fact, it’s the people in the company that should embrace this change, and they should get used to it. Therefore, change management is there to teach employers how to prepare their employees for change and support them through the process.

Steps of the change management process

To make sure everything goes smoothly within the company, the officials have to make sure they follow all the steps of the change management process. This way, it will be easier to go on and the chances of success are even greater.

1.      Assessing the change and the status of the organization

Before deciding to issue some changes, you need to see if the company is ready to do it. For this, you need to perform a series of assessments both on the business and on the change itself. You can start by looking at the scope of the change first.

Decide if the change is a radical one or not, and identify those people affected by it. If it’s something big, you might need a better change management. Then, move on to this category of people and see if they are ready to embrace the change. Also, look how much it will affect the organization as a whole and its way of functioning. If you are likely to face difficulties, it’s better to know what to expect from the beginning.

2.      Communicating the decision

After you have taken care of the details, it’s time to let everyone know about it. First of all, you should convince the employees the company needs this change. Depending on the type of audience you might have, you should decide how to deliver the message. Therefore, you might need a different communication strategy for each individual department.

3.      Prepare the managers

Everyone plays a role in this change process, but managers are the key players. If you win them over, they are the most likely category of people to convince other employees they have to change, and to motivate them to do it. However, getting the managers on your side might be the really tough thing to do.

Global warming displayed through a changing tree

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4.      Preparing the training

Of course, no one is expected to go through change without some help. This help can be provided by a training that educates people on how to issue change, what they need to be successful in the future, and on the basics of change management.

Training comes only after everyone has understood that change is absolutely necessary. Managers and employers will think about special trainings for each group of people, according to they skills they have and the ones they need to develop.

5.      Resistance management

It’s natural that some of the managers and employees will show some opposition. However, if this is persistent, the initial plan might have a lot to suffer. This is why managers and employers need to know how to deal with it, and how to persuade the opposing people to give up resistance.

6.      Listening to feedback and making improvements

Even after applying all these steps, the change process might allow some improvements. This is why both managers and the company officials need to listen to the suggestions of the employees. Through it, they can see how they understood the change management process and how effective they found it. Based on this feedback, they can make the necessary improvements.

Examples of change management

Individual change

This level refers to the change undergone by individuals. People in general are made to resist sudden changes, but they can be helped through tough times and eventually cope with change. If they receive enough support, the process can prove really successful.

Through individual change management, managers look at how people understand change and what makes them want to embrace it.

Organizational change

Change is necessary, of course, at an individual level. However, managers need to apply it to the entire organization to make it work. Through organizational change management, company officials take care of all the employees and members of the company that this change affects.

Through this process, officials identify those groups that will suffer more because of the change. Then, they develop a plan to get everything going and to avoid unpleasant situations. The main purpose of this type of change is to get everybody used to the changes.

Enterprise change management

This process comes after enforcing change both at the individual and the organizational level. It means that the entire organization has already adopted the change management tactics, and it is able to transpose it to all its projects, structures, and processes. This can be the result of a first process of change, and can also mean a better adaptability of the team.

Ceramic frog dragging a suitcase next to the words "time for change"

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Summing up

Change management is absolutely necessary in all companies. There might be moments when an organization needs some crucial changes to remain successful. Since not everyone is open to change, employers and managers have to learn how to get people used to it. Therefore, change management is about looking at how people understand and experience change. By teaching them how to adapt, how to oppose resistance and how to change the key processes in the organization, company officials can overcome difficult times and undergo successful change.

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