Effectively employing organizational change management (OCM) in a digital transformation can be challenging. How do you know what OCM activities to include and what messaging will be most effective? Long story short, you don’t know enough about OCM to develop an effective transition plan for employees.

Today, we’re discussing the OCM challenges that stump most organizations. We’re also discussing the change management risks you incur by continuing with your digital transformation despite a lack of change management knowledge.

The Challenges of Creating an Effective OCM Plan

You can approach OCM with good intentions, but it’s easy to venture off track if your team has minimal change management experience. Let’s look at three of the most common challenges you might face. 

1. Over-Simplifying Your Change Management Plan

A successful change management plan includes more than just an outline of how you’ll communicate key messages.

Many companies try to keep their plan simple, overlooking some of the most important aspects, including:

Don’t rely on the OCM plan you receive from your software vendor. When you proceed with such a bare-bones plan, you might have to go back and request additional support from your C-suite when you realize you need to beef it up.

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2. Not Communicating With All Affected Employees

When implementing new processes or technology, many organizations fail to identify all the employees it will affect. In other words, they don’t identify specific “change impacts.”

We recommend mapping change impacts during the process improvement stage. Then, you can develop a targeted communication plan and a customized ERP training strategy.

Every affected employee should be equipped with the knowledge they need to embrace the new normal.

3. Failing to Achieve Executive Buy-In

Just as you need the support of your C-suite to move forward with an ERP implementation or digital transformation, you also need their support to successfully implement an OCM plan. 

Not only should your senior leaders agree with the need for a robust OCM approach, but they should be active champions of the change itself. The more they embrace the change, the more likely your employees are to follow suit.

To ensure your executives visibly sponsor the change, make sure they understand why the change is necessary. Explain the results you expect and the consequences you could face if you don’t modernize and innovate.

The Risks of Poorly Managing Change

Let’s review some of the risks you could incur if you don’t address the above challenges. 

1. Project-Level Consequences

At the project level, you need a comprehensive OCM strategy to propel your efforts forward. When you can’t give OCM the attention it deserves, this can impact your project in terms of workflows, technologies, job roles, and hierarchical structures.

Some of the most expensive problems you may face include:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Project delays
  • Budget overruns
  • Design rework

When these issues occur, it can lead to employee resistance and distrust. For some companies, it can even be grounds to pause or abandon the project due to:

  • Unavailable resources
  • Unexpected obstacles
  • Failure to deliver project results

By applying organizational change management strategies from the outset, you can avoid many of these unnecessary costs and risks. When individuals readily accept and adopt a change, it catalyzes a company-wide response that can keep your project on track, on budget, and on schedule. 

2. Business-Level Consequences

A haphazard OCM approach doesn’t just affect your immediate project. It can also have wider-reaching business consequences. These impacts are felt by the entire organization, not just your immediate project team. 

For example, you may notice that some of your most valuable, top-performing employees begin to leave the company. This is a costly loss and one that leads to a host of other problems, such as:

  • Declines in productivity 
  • Reduced output
  • Reduced work quality

When performance wanes like this, your company isn’t the only entity affected. The consequences spread to all your stakeholders, including your customers and suppliers. These consequences can include:

  • A decline in morale
  • An ongoing legacy of failed change
  • Change fatigue
  • Change saturation
  • Employee stress and confusion 

These costs and risks extend well beyond the scope of your project and can have long-lasting effects on your company. This is why it’s best to prioritize OCM from the beginning, addressing these issues before they occur. 

Avoid These Change Management Risks

While these change management risks can seem daunting, most of them are easily avoidable. When your project team takes the time to develop a comprehensive OCM plan, you’re already one step ahead.

Our team of change management consultants can give you the OCM knowledge you need to avoid the risks of poorly-managed change. Contact us below for a free consultation.

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