Effective Change Management

Effective Change Management

The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the famous line, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men” often go awry” in his poem “To a Mouse”, conveying the idea that no matter how well we plan or how detailed our plans may be, things can still be derailed by unforeseen circumstances.

Much like the mouse in Burns poem, organisations often find themselves in unexpected challenges during transition, even when they have a detailed plan in place. The journey from one organisation to another is not an overnight exercise.

It is an ongoing exercise that requires strategic thinking before, during, and after the transition. A key component of effective organisational design and implementation of organisational development is change management.

Structured change management

Change is hard, especially when it involves modifying the organisational framework of a business. Although difficult, change is inevitable, exemplified by global developments like the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many companies are forced to make major changes overnight. Ripple effects of such global event — such as supply chain delays — continue to drive the need for organisational change today.

It is essential for business leaders to understand the challenges employees face in navigating or adapting to changes in the workplace. Not only are daily work routines altered, but employees may have to learn new systems, equipment, reporting systems, and more.

The challenge employees face when adjusting to change is magnified when most organisations adopt a top-down approach to change, where they are expected to buy into the new way of doing things, with managers leading the way as champions.

According to Gartner’s 2022 research, only 43% of employees expressed their willingness to participate in organisational change. The disparity between the necessary effort for change and the level of employee involvement can hinder an organisation’s aspirations and diminish the overall employee experience.

There are two primary reasons for implementing a structured change programme that actively engages employees:

  • Employee behaviour within the workplace plays an important role in shaping the social, psychological and organisational dynamics. It serves as a critical catalyst for accomplishing tasks in any industry.
  • The smooth adaptation of employees to change contributes to operational efficiency and boosts overall productivity.

Questions to ask when embarking on change management

As part of any organisational design and development programme, change management will be central. Here are some of the many key questions to ask when embarking on change management:

1. Identify the need for change

  • Do you understand the current performance of the organisation?
  • Have you conducted sufficient analysis to identify the gap?

2. Ensure that there is sufficient capacity for change

  • Have you assembled a change team, that is capable in terms of leadership, empowerment, skills and resources?
  • Are the changes possible within the constraints of scope, time, quality, and cost?

3. Facilitation and support

Change efforts need to be strategically facilitated in a way that supports people’s needs. Leadership support helps employees manage fear and anxiety during a transition period.

4. Participation and involvement

When you lack the necessary information for change and others may resist, involving employees directly in the change process increases their willingness to accept and participate. According to Gartner’s 2022 research, actively involving employees in change can improve success rates by up to 15%.

Leave change management to the experts

For many organisations, changing the way a business is organised can be a daunting task. This is because of all the past precedents that exist – the interpersonal relationships, expectations, roles, career paths, and more.

Change management is one of many important aspects of organisational design. There is a lot that goes into making an initiative successful, and bringing a fresh perspective and a thorough approach to organisational design and development is why Renoir is often engaged by organisations.

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