From the time your company realizes that organizational change is necessary to the time you reach the one-year milestone of successfully sustained change, you need a project team that understands organizational change management (OCM) from beginning to end.

Today, we’re detailing what a successful organizational change process looks like, so you can employ the right OCM tactics and best practices throughout your project.

Common Drivers of Organizational Change​

Of course, the beginning of organizational change is understanding why you’re wanting transformation in the first place. 

Common reasons for organizational change include but aren’t limited to:

  • Technological Advancements
  • Market Dynamics (i.e., changes in supply and demand, emerging market trends, or shifts in consumer behavior)
  • Competitive Pressures 
  • Regulatory and Legal Changes
  • Changes in the Economic Climate
  • Customer Preferences and Expectations
  • Internal Structural Changes (i.e., mergers, acquisitions, leadership changes, or staffing shortages)
  • Global Events (i.e., pandemics or international political instability)

Once you clarify your goals and ensure organizational alignment, you can begin preparing for the change. During this time, four factors to prioritize are people, processes, technology, and data. 

Our specific focus today is on people. We’ve broken down the organizational change process into three phases and outlined best practices for managing the “people” aspect of your project.

Change Management Case Study

The client recognized their need for more comprehensive change management, so they asked us to fill in the gaps. We developed a robust communication plan to supplement the vendor’s communication approach.

3 Phases of the Organizational Change Process​

The industry buzzword for managing the people side of a project is organizational change management, or OCM for short. 

Why should you dedicate so much focus to this aspect of your project?

The answer lies in this (almost universal) principle:

If a workforce is unprepared to embrace new processes or technology, low user adoption is likely to follow.

Considering the importance of organizational change management, here are the OCM activities critical to each phase of a change project:

1. Preparing for Change

Before purchasing new software or mapping your future state business processes, it’s important to develop a change management plan that includes a roadmap for organizational assessments, communication, training, and other OCM activities.

(A comprehensive list of OCM activities can be found here.)

Key questions to ask during this phase include:

  • What do we want to achieve with this change management plan?
  • Who will need to do their jobs differently as a result of this project?
  • What do those job function changes look like?
  • How will the proposed changes benefit the company in the long run?
  • Are the proposed changes feasible with the current resources and time frame?

When our ERP software consultants develop change management plans for clients, we help them identify barriers to change, develop a training strategy, outline a communication plan, and monitor results post-implementation.

For example, a manufacturing company transitioning to new manufacturing ERP software, might develop an end-user training strategy that would work in tandem with their communication plan to transition every stakeholder group to the new system.

2. Implementing the Change​

As you start to implement new processes or new ERP software, you should begin to put your change management plan into action. 

Along the way, monitoring progress against defined objectives enables you to refine your OCM plan as necessary.

Key questions to ask at this point include:

  • How will we continue to prepare, support, and engage our employees?
  • How are we doing with our OCM goals?
  • Are there any unforeseen impacts of the changes that we need to address immediately?

Our organizational change management consultants begin measuring benefits realization from the time data conversion begins until a year after go-live. This helps organizations measure OCM metrics, such as user adoption and employee turnover.

3. Reinforcing Change​

After the new software goes live, OCM is no less important. Continuous training may be necessary to ensure ongoing proficiency. In addition, communication must continue, especially in the form of celebrating wins.

For example, a distribution company might complete an ERP implementation and then organize a quarterly awards ceremony highlighting specific individuals who have shown outstanding performance in areas such as improved delivery times or increased customer satisfaction. This recognition would reinforce the positive impact of the ERP system, encouraging continued engagement and optimal use of the new technology. 

Here are some questions to ask as you reinforce organizational changes across your workforce:

  • Where are we now, and are we on track for the timeline we set for each KPI?
  • What do we need from our OCM team to ensure long-lasting change?
  • Who will assume ownership of these initiatives and sustain the outcomes?
  • What long-term support is needed to maintain these changes?

Throughout post-implementation, a culture of continuous improvement is essential. This is an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas and suggesting innovations, no matter how small. 

The goal of this mindset is to continuously fine-tune processes and systems to better meet organizational goals. Yet, this culture can also support OCM goals as it keeps employees engaged and gives you an opportunity to boost morale by recognizing employee contributions.

Understanding the OCM Process Within the Organizational Change Process​

Within every change project, there are various phases of change. Understanding the organizational change management process that should underpin the process of change is critical to navigating each phase successfully. 

Whether you’re changing your culture, transforming your processes, or implementing an ERP system, our change management consultants can help you manage the people aspect of that change. Contact us below to learn more.

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