In today’s digitally-driven world, businesses need to transform their processes and operations to adapt to the changing market environment. They ought to reimagine the traditional processes with a modern outlook to meet the evolving market and business requirements.
Digital transformation has to a great extent helped businesses stay on top of the ever-changing trends.
So, what is digital transformation?
It is the process of creating new processes or modifying the existing ones using the latest technologies to meet the demands of the evolving market. This helps businesses gain a competitive edge.
No wonder 90% of the businesses are planning to update their business model or have already changed their processes for good.
The first step towards digital transformation is change management. It helps businesses define and adopt a structured approach toward change. It simplifies the transition of the older processes into new ones with minimal hurdles in the workflow.
Change management also improves collaboration within the team, thereby increasing productivity and morale.
In this article, we will understand the top five steps to creating a structured change management plan.
5 Steps to Execute Change Management Plan
1. Craft a Vision
Before implementing a change, it is essential to identify the need for change and how it aligns with your business goals. Getting the team ready to understand the vision and embrace these changes is the next step.
Ask yourself –
- Why is this change required?
- How is it going to impact the organizational processes?
- What are we going to achieve with this change?
The answers to such questions will give you a fair idea of crafting a vision for the change management strategy.
When crafting a vision statement, make sure it –
- Is easy to understand
- Focuses on achieving realistic business goals
- Is flexible enough to accommodate adjustments and changes
- Conveys a clear picture of how the processes would look like in the future
- Contributes to achieving the company’s long-term goals
Remember it is not possible to create a vision in a single attempt and alone. Build a change management team involving all the key stakeholders, department heads, and team members in executive roles and ask for their input. This will help you craft a vision that is strong and can be readily converted into a strategy.
2. Review Existing Processes
After the vision is agreed upon, it is time to review the processes that need to be changed or modified to achieve that vision.
Identify the gaps in the existing processes that create bottlenecks in business operations.
For example, employees lacking certain programming skills might be the reason for delayed project delivery or manual inventory management process can be a hurdle for a growing eCommerce business. Hence, accessing the areas for improvement is necessary for successful change management.
Speaking with the respective team leads will give you a better understanding of the existing processes. As they have first-hand experience in accomplishing their tasks, they are the most reliable resources for explaining the work procedures and providing solutions for refining them. The individual team members might identify some trivial issues that would normally go unnoticed by the stakeholders.
The next step is to document these identified tasks or processes and plan a temporary workflow to streamline them. Besides, create a timeline for the transitions to track the progress of their change initiatives.
3. Create a Foolproof Transition Plan
Once you have identified the key areas that require change, it is time to create a foolproof, effective plan.
A successful change management plan consists of the following components.
- Key Stakeholders
It includes the team members who would be involved in the planning and execution of the change. Set up a change management team that includes key executives, department heads, project managers, subject matter experts, and a few individual end-users.
This speaks about the milestones or goals that the plan needs to meet.
For example, PlanetHS, an athletics management software, wanted to reduce the time required for training athletes on using their software. So, their end goal was to implement a system that would onboard and train users in less time.
Timeline refers to the key deadlines or the allotted time to implement the change. Assign a deadline to every task or project to stay on track. This will help you prioritize the tasks accordingly.
Changes are accompanied by costs. According to research by Gartner, businesses should set aside a minimum of 15% of the overall implementation budget for change management.
This includes the budget for system development and implementation, evaluation and modification of existing processes, training the team, and communication.
Implementing rigorous changes without understanding their outcomes is futile. Identify and set metrics to determine the outcome of the changes. You can gain ideas about what metrics to measure with the help of the vision and objectives.
This is how an ideal change management plan should look.
|Purpose||State the reason for the change.|
|Description||Write down a brief description of the change. Focus on explaining the goals you are planning to achieve with the help of this change.|
|Identification of Stakeholders||Include the names of the members of the change management team.|
|Expected Benefits||Provide clarifications on how the change is positively going to affect the work processes.|
|Milestones||Communicate the timeline of the change process.|
|Budget||Share details about the required resources and their costs.|
Here are some tips you can follow to make an effective transition plan.
- Roll out the proposed change in a strategic manner. Avoid bombarding the team with abrupt changes. Give them a chance to adjust to the change, adopt new habits and familiarize themselves with the new processes while gradually phasing out old practices.
- Be transparent about the changes by explaining to the team the impact of the change and its benefits. Do not promise unrealistic outcomes and keep the team informed about the potential challenges if any.
- Communication is at the heart of every change management strategy. Inform the team about the change and the reason it’s happening. Make sure you ask for constructive feedback. Keep yourself open to questions and resolve them calmly and collectively.
- Create a roadmap to help the team understand where your organization is heading.
- Use project management tools like Asana, Trello, ProjectManager, or Jira to create tasks and track the progress of the change management project.
- Monitor the impact of the change to identify the risks and challenges. Remember change is an ongoing process. Review and revise the strategies to ensure seamless implementation of the desired changes.
4. Train and Encourage Your Team
Provide training to the team members and help them master the new processes. Planned training programs ensure the team is guided through the change journey and hence are an essential component for a smooth transition.
Here are some best practices you can follow while training the team for the change.
- Make the training available for the team as soon as the change is announced. This will keep employees informed about the new processes instantly.
- Prepare a documentation or resource center about the implemented changes to guide the team with a seamless transition.
- Conduct a presentation session or seminar highlighting how the team can take advantage of the new processes.
- Record videos or create animated tutorials helping the team understand complex functionalities.
- Communicate with the team and resolve their queries pertaining to the new changes.
5. Measure Progress
Feedback and proper communication are essential for businesses undergoing a change as it helps you monitor the progress of the change management initiatives. It helps in understanding the team’s perspective on the newly adopted processes. This feedback can be then leveraged to design more agile processes.
For example, SendGrid, an email marketing software used Culture App to collect employee feedback when the team went through a leadership transition.
Recognize the team’s effort in implementing the change via shoutouts on team communication channels.
Use feedback capturing software like the ones mentioned below to connect with the team and understand their views.
- Engagedly – An employee engagement platform for collecting feedback via employee engagement and pulse surveys. In addition to surveys, this software also offers a learning management system that can be utilized to create training materials for the team.
- Quantum Workplace – A feedback software for capturing team feedback via smart surveys. You can also gain intelligent insights into team responses via survey analytics. This software also helps you automatically share feedback questionnaires with the team without any manual intervention.
- Bonusly – A peer-to-peer recognition software that can be leveraged to motivate employees throughout the change. The employees can also convert the reward points they receive into tangible perks.
Change management is crucial for growing businesses. Having a clear vision for change and following a strategic approach helps in effective change management.
Whether you are implementing new software for the sales team or redefining the entire customer support process, a thoughtful change management strategy can help you manage the change without any hassles. We are confident that the information shared in this blog post will complement your change management efforts and take your business to the next level.