Change management is a structured approach to implementing new processes within an organisation. The objective of change management is to prepare and guide employees to successfully adopt new processes or technology, seeking to drive successful outcomes as individuals adapt to a transitioning work environment.
Organisational change management should be considered as complementary to project management. While project management ensures the design, development and delivery of the project’s purpose, change management guarantees the project’s solution is effectively accepted and used.
The Cost of Poorly Managing Change
There are countless consequences of ignoring the people side of a change:
- Productivity declines on a larger scale for a longer duration than necessary
- Managers are unwilling to devote the time or resources needed to support the change
- Key stakeholders do not show up to meetings
- Suppliers begin to feel the impact and see the disruption caused by the change
- Customers are negatively impacted by a change that should have been invisible to them
- Employee morale suffers and divisions between “us” and “them” begin to emerge in the organization
- Stress, confusion and fatigue all increase
- Valued employees leave the organization
- Projects also suffer as due to missed deadlines, overrun budgets and unexpected and unnecessary rework to get the effort back on track. In some cases, the project itself is completely abandoned after large investments of capital and time. All of these consequences have tangible and real financial impact on the health of the organization and the project. In addition, each of these consequences can be addressed and mitigated if a project includes a structured approach to the people side of change.
As the software implementation process and especially the training gets underway, look for ways to empower team members. This can mean designating certain people to be responsible for reporting on their team’s training progress. Try to think beyond the obvious choice, such as simply making the department manager responsible for reporting on their team’s progress.
The more people are empowered that is feeling like they are in control and responsible for their own success or failure, the more likely you are to achieve the desired outcome. People are more likely to work towards a goal when they feel they are doing something they are in control with. This will also help foster a sense of collaboration.
Effective Change Management Increases the Likelihood of Success
There is a growing body of data that shows the impact that effective change management has on the probability that a project meets its objectives. Prosci’s longitudinal benchmarking studies show a strong correlation: Data from the 2013 benchmarking study showed that 96% of participants with excellent change management met or exceeded objectives, while only 16% of those with poor change management met or exceeded objectives.
While change at the project level is important, it ultimately does not tend to extend beyond the boundaries of the project itself. That is to say, project-level change can be somewhat isolated, or specific, in impact. Change at the organizational level, however, affects all employees in a particular company, including the individuals and teams working on various projects. One might say that organizational change encompasses project-level change. For this reason, organizational change tends to be felt at a deeper level and for a longer period.
It is, therefore, important for companies to manage any organizational change as effectively as possible. Managing a successful organizational change can increase morale among workers and drive positive team building and job enrichment. These factors can directly and positively affect productivity and quality of work while shortening production cycles and reducing costs. Effective organizational change management allows the company to maintain a constant state of evolution and facilitate periods of general business change, allowing workers to remain motivated and productive during the introduction of new technologies or procedures.