11.02.2021

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The keys to successful change management

Adapting to new digital technologies, remaining competitive in the market, developing your business and sales: there are many reasons to transform a company. The purpose of change management is to carry out these transitions in a way that is understood and accepted by everyone involved. But how do you go about it? What are the keys to successfully managing change in your company?

 

 

Change management: a human-centered process

 

The process of change management covers all the actions aimed at carrying out transformations within an organization. Such changes can have a variety of underlying reasons: the implementation of a new digital tool, a move to new premises, the arrival of a new management team, the launch of new products, etc. Whatever the nature of the change, it needs to be anticipated and communicated clearly to employees: these are the main challenges of change management.

« It is important that everyone in the organization takes part in the management of change: from the directors to the managers, the HR function and the employees themselves. »

Change management methods help make the connection between employees and the company’s strategy – including the planned or ongoing change. Indeed, their purpose is not just to communicate on the measures implemented, but also to support the affected employees so that they can understand and take ownership of the change.

 

Related: the challenges of change management

 

 

Four tips for effective change management

 

It’s important that everyone in the organization takes part in the management of change: from the directors to the managers, the HR function and the employees themselves. HR supports the whole process and plays a key role in its success.

 

 

Involve all stakeholders

 

It’s strongly recommended to involve all affected stakeholders right from the beginning of the change project. Companies can deploy a co-development process to consult employees during meetings, workshops, etc. Familiar as they are with operational realities, employees can provide relevant insights into how to carry out the transformations. Including them in the project enables the organization to take their real needs into account, but also to help them better understand and accept the possible impacts of these changes on their daily work.

 

It’s generally advisable to form a change management team within the organization. Roles can be divided so that one part of the team drives the technical aspects of the transformation (such as the implementation of new software), while another part focuses on communication plans or training.

 

 

Make the change meaningful

 

Fear of the unknown, disruption of habits: change often brings concern and reticence. To overcome these obstacles, you need to put the spotlight on the benefits of the current or future transformations as part of the change management process.

 

When they are made aware of how the changes will benefit them and the company, employees can truly commit and adopt them in their day-to-day work. However, the idea is not to “oversell” the change, but rather to be transparent about the challenges ahead – and thereby maintain a climate of trust within the company.

 

 

Establish a strategic communication plan

 

To lead an effective change management process, you need a suitable communication plan. The first step in developing this plan is to anticipate communication opportunities by identifying the key topics to be discussed with the affected employees. These key moments will be included in an appropriate communication timeline.

 

This communication’s primary objective is to explain the major changes to come and to inform employees of the progress of their implementation within the organization. Newsletters, emails, a dedicated website or even a WhatsApp group: there are many channels to communicate on such a topic. Pick the one that best suits the affected teams.

 

 

Foster an internal conversation

 

The communication plan is not the only tool needed to support change management. To answer employees’ questions and concerns, internal conversations are just as important. They help reassure the workforce and avoid possible misunderstandings, tensions and drops in motivation. HR teams are on the front line to fulfil this essential role of information and support.

 

 

Identifying the concerns caused by the change

 

Resistance to change is an important parameter to consider when planning a transformation. Its most common cause is a poor understanding of the change’s purpose and benefits, along with fear of disruptions to the usual working methods.

 

When you ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to identify the fears and frustrations that employees may have regarding change, it’s easier to address them. The four keys to change management presented above are excellent tools in this respect.

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