Any time you introduce new technology or processes into your company, change management must precede it. This is the critical phase of preparing your team members for impending changes.

There are a few key roles in organizational change management that you must assign early in the project, whether this project is related to ERP software or process changes. If you define these roles when creating your change management plan, you can position your workforce to embrace the improvements that follow. 

5 Key Roles in Organizational Change

Many industry thought leaders recognize that there are five key roles that can help create a “coordinated system of support” for employees through any transition.

Let’s take a look at how each role works and why it’s needed.

1. Change Practitioners

Think of change practitioners as your external change management resources. These are seasoned experts tasked with managing the “people side” of your ERP implementation or business transformation. 

At every touchpoint, they’ll provide the focus and resources necessary to keep track of change management activities. They’ll hold the rest of the team accountable and make sure that change isn’t pushed to the bottom of the budget or the end of the timeline.

To achieve this, they’ll create and apply a structured change management methodology to the project. The strategy they create will be personalized and scaled, resulting in a set of plans designed to move your change effort forward. These encompass both role-based plans and activity plans, including a:

  • Sponsor Plan
  • People Manager Plan
  • Communications Plan
  • Training Plan

When it comes to this key role, it’s important to hire the right experts. Be sure to hire a team of experienced change management practitioners that are well-versed in helping companies develop change management strategies and plans. Panorama’s change management consultants fit this bill.

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.

2. Sponsors

To keep a project alive, you need support that starts at the top. Active, corporate-level sponsorship can help employees get on board with the change. This support must be visible and consistent to have a lasting impact.

Once sponsors are defined, their roles within the change management process include:

  • Staying actively engaged with the project from start to finish
  • Communicating the reasons for the change (and its anticipated benefits) with employees
  • Generating support for the project 

As enthusiasm ramps up, primary sponsors can help create distinct support coalitions, comprised of different department and division leaders. In turn, these employees can help prioritize the change within their own workgroups, so employees see a united front.

3. People Managers

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the impressive technology of an ERP system and even easier to forget that most of your employees may be resistant to changing their familiar workday to accommodate this exciting new platform.

For many employees, this can be an overwhelming and even unwelcome shift, even if the new system will make their job easier. This is where people managers come in.

While senior sponsors and change practitioners take more of a high-level approach, people managers are directly responsible for explaining to each employee how the change will affect their current roles and responsibilities. In other words, they’re the ones closest to the action.

People managers help support and coach their employees while directly communicating predefined messages to their teams. They also serve as liaisons between their team and the project team, asking questions and delivering feedback.

As you might imagine, it’s imperative that your people managers support the change. Otherwise, it’s likely that their teams never will. We recommend clearly explaining the change to them and helping them spread their enthusiasm to the rest of their department. 

4. Project Manager

These leaders are responsible for managing the design, development and delivery of the overall project. While these are primarily technical pursuits, project managers also are in charge of including change management activities in the project plan and ensuring they stay top of mind. 

Ultimately, these are the people who will direct and guide the changes to each employee’s job. The solutions they design will become employees’ new workflows, so they cannot be created in a silo. Early on, the project manager will need to engage with the change practitioner to ensure that the technical side of the project isn’t moving forward against a backdrop of hesitation, fear and distrust.

5. Impacted Employees

Finally, let’s talk about the people who are directly impacted by the changes brought by your new business processes or ERP system: the employees themselves!

Regardless of your industry, these people are the heartbeat and the backbone of your business and deserve to be treated as such. Keeping their feelings and mindsets in mind when you design your project is simply the right thing to do.

Emotional barriers to change are real, universal and predictable. They’re also easily managed if the right resources are in place.

Besides avoiding conflict, another reason to focus on your employees’ needs is that you need high user adoption rates in order to realize expected business benefits.

We recommend focusing on end-user training and encouraging two-way communication. If questions or complications arise, employees should share their concerns so the team can work through them. 

Successfully Manage Organizational Changes

Change can be scary, but it’s also where incredible growth happens. From C-suite executives to each individual employee, organizational change affects everyone at your company. When you come together to approach change head-on, you position your workforce for ongoing success.

Looking for change management support? Contact our team for a free consultation and let’s get started. 

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