While new enterprise software can transform the way your organization operates, change of any kind can be challenging for team members to navigate. This is why it’s important to have a change management plan in place. 

At the most basic level, an organizational change management plan outlines activities, defines timelines, and identifies responsible parties. The third component can be the most challenging to define because there are a variety of stakeholders who will be charged with executing certain parts of your plan.

Today, we’re talking about one particular stakeholder who should be on your change management team: department managers. Read on to learn about the role of managers in change management.

The Role of Managers in Change Management

1. Provide Change-Related Reports and Updates

Managers should be responsible for sharing information about the change with their departments. These updates should be routine and integrated into the project, so manager can identify and redirect any form of resistance before it snowballs into a bigger problem. 

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2. Gain Access to Resources

There are myriad resources required to support the OCM side of an ERP implementation or digital transformation.

On their own, your project team members might not have the influence to secure these resources. However, managers (even mid-level managers) typically have enough influence to ensure resources are readily available and committed to the project. 

3. Foster Organizational Alignment

All key stakeholders should align on the details of the software implementation. If they have varying opinions on project goals, which features the software should include, and which processes to change, it can convolute the effort.

There must be a clear direction forward before the project team begins investing company time and money. While this makes sense in theory, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page.

It helps to engage managers in this respect, relying on them to hold meetings that ensure their departments can share their thoughts. 

4. Visibly Support the Change

When employees are feeling hesitant about the change, it can help to have a visible stakeholder who is actively and vocally supporting it.

If team members see their managers talking positively about the change, this can quell their own fears and concerns about what’s to come.

5. Guide Employees Through the Change

As employees adjust to the fact that the change is going to happen, the manager’s role becomes more active. In this critical phase, they should be the ones who guide your workforce through the transition, adopting roles, such as communicator, advocate, and liaison. 

Once the new system is live, they should be just as present. Here, their role should be to reinforce the change and make sure everyone has access to what they need.

They should also be the ones leading the charge when there’s a success to celebrate. Not only does this help everyone feel included and supported, but it reassures employees and the project team that the energy and time they committed to the project was not wasted. 

6. Identify and Mitigate Resistance

If there’s anything that could potentially derail an otherwise-steady implementation, it’s employee resistance. One of the most important duties of managers is to identify early signs that an employee might resist the change. 

Some of those signs include:

  • Disengagement 
  • Absenteeism
  • Gossip
  • Low energy
  • Low productivity
  • Unwillingness to cooperate

While these don’t always point to resistance, they are common red flags.

With early intervention, managers can address the root causes of these issues. Often, they’re rooted in fear. For instance, an employee might worry that new ERP software will render their job obsolete.

Managers: The Employees You Want in Your Corner

Change management is one of the most important parts of any project. Tackling it on the fly or moving ahead without support from department managers could be a recipe for disaster.

The role of managers in change management cannot be understated. Our team of change management consultants can help you engage these stakeholders so they can provide the OCM support you need. Contact us below for a free consultation.

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