Are you preparing to implement a major change at your organization? Whether you’re planning an ERP implementation or a full digital transformation, it’s important to keep a people-focused perspective.
Without effective change management, your team members could feel left in the dark as you press ahead with the project. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration, which could lower adoption rates and decrease ROI.
Today, we’re here to show you how to get organizational change management right. Read on to discover our top tips for change management success.
6 Tips for Effective Change Management
1. Conduct a Readiness Assessment
Before you embark on a business change, take the time to make sure your organization is ready for it.
A business readiness assessment can help you gauge the level of change resistance that you can expect within your company. This assessment also looks at how the project could affect:
- The organization as a whole
- The employees
- The project sponsors
- The organizational culture
Consider how this new system will impact each of these components. Are there certain people that will be more affected than others?
Also, consider the degree of change – are you just streamlining manual processes, or are you changing your company from the inside out?
Without a readiness assessment, it’s easy to assume that everyone will be fine with the change. However, this is rarely the case, so it helps to identify potential dissenters as early as possible.
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2. Clearly Explain the Importance of the Change
When a company decides to undergo a digital transformation, it’s usually because the status quo is no longer working, and there’s an urgent need for change. Competition is ramping up, trends are shifting, and it’s time to move in a different direction.
Instead of keeping this knowledge isolated to the C-suite, share it with your employees. Often, their frustration stems from a misunderstanding of why a change is needed in the first place.
Explain the imminent crisis that will occur if you don’t move in this direction and the valuable opportunities you could miss. If you can create a sense of urgency, it’s easier for employees to visualize (and support) the outcome.
3. Prioritize Project Sponsorship
What’s the most important factor in successful change management? It’s project sponsorship.
It’s important to make a distinction here between sponsorship and support. Executive leaders can support an idea in theory but not sponsor it in practice.
You need hands-on participation from executives for them to be able to spur employee engagement and trust. To ensure this level of participation, you should communicate to your C-suite why the change is required and the level of engagement you need.
Overall, you need a coalition of leaders, stakeholders, and decision-makers who can support the change with their actions. A change management consultant can help you establish a sponsorship roadmap to facilitate conversations with potential sponsors.
4. Plan Your Communication Strategy
When it comes to effective change management, you can’t just “wing it,” especially when it comes to conversations. These meetings need to be well-planned so you can make sure to relay the right message.
Early in the project, create a robust communication plan that clearly outlines how and when you will share key updates with employees. Try to keep them consistently in the loop and repeat important information often so they can remember it.
As you plan your communication approach, remember to tailor your strategy depending on your audience. The way you address change with your C-suite may differ from how you communicate with department leaders and individual employees. Always keep the audience, message, and timing top of mind.
5. Establish a Group of Change Leaders
We recommend establishing a team of leaders with enough authority to lead the change.
While some of these leaders may hold executive positions, it’s more important to make sure they have the right skills for the task. When evaluating potential change leaders, consider their:
- Leadership skills
- Management skills
The individuals you select should work together to communicate the change and help employees adjust to it. They should also highlight common goals that everyone should be working toward and strategize the actions needed to get there.
6. Identify and Remove Change Barriers
You could manage organizational change by the book and still end up with resistance. This is because there are many barriers that can hold employees back from fully embracing change, and many of them are hidden.
It helps to think about potential barriers up-front and work proactively to remove them before they become problems. A few of the issues that may cause employees to resist change include:
- A lack of skills needed to use the new ERP system
- Supervisors who are against the new vision
- Personnel or information systems that block the flow of communication
Together with your change team, think about these barriers and the risks they pose. Then, brainstorm ways you can address and remove them as you move forward.
Without a Supportive Workforce, Any Technology You Implement Will Sit on the Shelf
By prioritizing the six tips above, you can dissolve resistance and create enthusiasm around new processes and technology. Ultimately, your employees, stakeholders, and leaders will all be ready to make the best use of your new ERP, CRM, or SCM system.
Our organizational change management consultants can help you understand the components of effective change management in more detail. Contact us below for a free consultation.