Change is an inevitable part of any business regardless of its size or industry. As the business landscape continuously evolves, companies must also evolve to remain competitive in the market.
Since your business is bound to undergo changes at some unpredictable point in the future, it’s wise to be prepared to handle the changes when the time comes. Adapting to change might be difficult for your employees, but having a change management plan in place to help your team navigate the transition will make the adaptation less challenging.
In short, change management is a plan that guides how you prepare, equip, and support employees to adopt change to drive organizational success. It involves keeping your employees in the loop and supporting them throughout the transition so they are not left in the dark trying to adjust to the change without much direction. When executed correctly, change management leads to smoother and less costly transitions in terms of time and resources. Although many companies think they do not need a formal change management plan to guide their employees through a transition, they often learn the hard way that the successful adoption of changes is less likely when a change management plan is not being followed.
Why Is Change Management Necessary?
According to a recent research study, companies with healthy change management practices are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their competition. So, ask yourself: Why wouldn’t you want to implement a practice that significantly increases your chances of outperforming your competitors?
When you decide to alter your business strategy, no matter the scope and scale of the change, you need to ensure it will be successful so you don’t waste valuable time and resources on a failed initiative. Organizational changes provide an opportunity for growth, so don’t waste that opportunity due to a lack of preparedness. Give your change initiatives a chance to live up to their potential.
At its core, a good change management plan relies on effective communication. It involves consistently communicating what changes are occurring, why they are occurring, and how each employee will be impacted. This ensures that employees at every level have visibility into the process. And communication in the workplace is more important now than ever before – a recent study from Grammarly revealed that 72% of business leaders saw increased productivity from their teams when effective communication was present. This study also uncovered that effective communication increased work satisfaction for 56% of workers. This shows that proactively communicating changes throughout your organization will positively impact both you and your employees’ workplace success.
Benefits of Change Management
Now that you understand why change management is necessary for successful adoption, let’s discuss some specific benefits of implementing a change management strategy.
1. Continued Productivity
Sometimes an organizational change can completely halt employee productivity. If the change comes as a surprise and employees are unsure how to navigate the uncharted territory, they won’t produce the level of work that is required for your business to succeed.
However, if you properly introduce a change management plan from the start, productivity should not be effected. As long as employees understand the changes and how their role in them, they should work through the transition period without any issue. Don’t leave your employees in the dark, and they won’t change the way the work.
2. Mitigate Losses
As we mentioned earlier, organization-wide changes are often a major investment, and the last thing you want to do is let that investment go to waste. To avoid lost time and money, utilize a structured change management plan to guide your employees from start to finish. Change management practices also ensure that you do not lose employees during the transition who might otherwise become frustrated that no one is leading them through the change.
3. Foster Efficiency
Consistently planning and communicating from the beginning of a change will set the stage for continued efficiency. Once your organization gets used to looking ahead and communicating, the habit will continue. Additionally, change management plans typically include a goal setting component. Having your organization set goals detailing what they want from the change will encourage employees to efficiently work toward meeting that goal.
4. Prevent Resistance to Change
When an organization introduces a major shift, they have to be aware that some employees will disagree with the change. Many people have a natural aversion to change, so company leaders must try to prevent their resistance – this is where a change management team steps in. A change management team guiding your employees through each step of the transition will ensure they understand the plan, which will foster acceptance of the change.
5. Improved Company Culture
A good company culture cannot exist without a solid foundation of trust and communication. Being transparent with your employees and proving to them that they matter throughout the change will foster trusting relationships and a better organizational culture.
6. Long-term Success
Change management plans typically include a ‘monitoring’ component which checks on how employees are adapting to the change. These check-ins make long-term success of the change initiative more viable because if the change is not being received well, you will be aware and have an opportunity to turn things around.
It’s crucial that your organization has a change management plan ready to go at a moment's notice. Take time to create your plan now! You never know when the opportunity to make a change to propel your business forward will arise, so you need to be equipped to seize that opportunity at any time.