Are you planning to transition some or all of your in-house legacy systems into the digital realm? According to one study, 87% of enterprises are now pursuing digital transformation.
If you’re on the cusp of such a shift, it’s important to take the time for project planning. This ensures you have a guidepost for making the right decisions, including investing in the right features.
However, a successful transformation requires more than just a technical focus. It also requires change management techniques. Today, we’re sharing a few of the most effective techniques for managing the human side of change.
9 Change Management Techniques to Employ in Your Next Project
1. Secure Executive Sponsorship Early
One of the most effective organizational change management (OCM) techniques is to establish visible executive sponsorship as early as possible.
A sponsor should be engaged in all aspects of the project to ensure change management receives the attention, funding, and resources it requires.
When you have someone championing the change itself as well as the need for change management, it becomes easier to meet your project objectives and guard your project against failure.
2. Conduct a Readiness Assessment
Your project team might be eager to initiate a digital transformation, but is your organization truly capable of supporting such a massive change?
Before you dive into the project, take the time to conduct a readiness assessment. This is the best way to anticipate how much resistance you might encounter if you press ahead with the initiative.
To measure readiness, consider the scope of the change and the effect it will have on your organization’s culture and your individual employees.
3. Structure Your Approach
It isn’t enough to say that your team will focus on OCM throughout the life of the project. You need a dedicated plan in place to help you stay on track.
Your change management plan should be customized to your organization. It should be structured and organized but flexible enough to implement at every phase of your project.
Another benefit of a change management plan? When you have a defined strategy to follow, it becomes easier to apply change management techniques to other change initiatives that your company undertakes in the future.
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4. Plan Your Communication Strategy
Your company’s OCM approach hinges on excellent communication. You can’t assume that employees know what’s going on with the transformation or what to expect in the future. You must clearly tell them and leave plenty of room for discussion.
Center most of the conversations around what’s driving the change and why it’s required. Resistance can occur when employees don’t understand why they’re being asked to shift away from their familiar workflows. They don’t know why they’re inefficient, and they can’t see the benefits of learning new ones.
By communicating the details behind the change, you can help ease some of these concerns. Instead of just delivering your message one time to the entire workforce, tailor your message to each group and repeat it often. As you do so, keep your audience, content, and timing top of mind.
5. Invest in Training
Your employees will need training on how to effectively use new systems and processes. If your project requires any degree of business process reengineering or improvement, end-user training should involve explaining to individual departments how the process changes will impact their day-to-day workflows.
Your change management team will also require training. These individuals need to learn the techniques required to successfully implement change across the organization. Once that understanding is in place, they can focus their efforts on guiding others through the transformation.
6. Expect and Prepare for Resistance
Digital transformations require sweeping changes that affect nearly every corner of an enterprise. This is especially the case if you intend to automate many of your workflows with enterprise software, such as an ERP system.
As you implement these new processes and practices, you’re bound to encounter some form of resistance. This is true even if you’ve dedicated plenty of time and resources to a robust OCM plan and communication strategy. There may still be employees who aren’t on board with the project, and if left unchecked, their negativity could spread and disrupt all your efforts.
Instead of sweeping those opinions aside, take the time to listen to them. Address their concerns, answer their questions, and outline what they can expect moving forward.
In addition, you should train your managers on how to identify and manage resistance within their departments.
7. Integrate OCM With Project Management
Your change management team and your project management team shouldn’t operate in siloes. When these two teams join forces, it can strengthen both sides.
By integrating OCM into project management activities, you can encourage collaboration and teamwork across the enterprise. With this alignment, it will be quicker and easier to achieve your project goals.
So, consider adding change management activities to your project plan and combining some of those roles and responsibilities.
8. Reinforce Change
Don’t stop focusing on OCM once your digital transformation is complete. Instead, celebrate every milestone you achieve, both big and small.
Be sure to recognize employees who are actively embracing the change. At the same time, work closely with those who are still struggling to do so.
Reinforcing change in this way can send a clear message that user adoption is a priority.
9. Measure Change Results
Part of reinforcing change post-implementation is knowing where your company stands in terms of transitioning. Are users actively using the new system, or are they holding tight to their old ways?
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) at the beginning of your project, so you know how to measure success at this juncture. Then, regularly monitor these KPIs to understand how your workforce is progressing.
Change Management is Critical to Digital Transformation Success
As you begin your digital transformation, remember to implement change management techniques at every turn. Unless the human side of the change is as well-planned as the technical side, your project could fail to deliver on expectations.
Our change management consultants can help you develop an OCM plan that makes sense for your organization. Contact us below for a free consultation.