We all know that change is inevitable; and it isn’t going away anytime soon – it’s here to stay. (OK – got all the clichés out of the way!) Some changes we see coming; some we just don’t. Either way – we can have a plan in place to manage changes.
Whether you see the change coming or you don’t – you can still plan for it!
Have a change management plan in place. A change management plan is an outline of how you will manage changes. Include information on:
- How will changes be communicated and socialized to the organization – prior to the initiative and throughout?
- Who needs to be involved in change initiatives? (Who comprises the team?)
- Who is sponsoring the change initiative at a leadership level in the organization?
- Who is the team leader overseeing the team working on the change initiative?
- What is the timeline for the initiative?
- Is there a budget available for the initiative?
- How will status be reported?
Socialize the change initiative. Whether you have a “heads up” about the change or it comes at you fast and furious, you can still socialize the change initiative to increase buy-in and support from throughout the organization.
Take these steps to socialize the initiative:
1. Work with the sponsor of the change initiative to truly understand what is happening and why. What are the benefits of the change to the organization as a whole but also to the individuals within the organization? Why is the change happening now and not later? What else is going on in the organization that could impact the perception of this change initiative?
2. Develop a communications plan to socialize the initiative before it starts. Consider:
- Who will have to change how they work?
- Who needs to provide input for the change?
- Who will need to oversee the individuals who will be affected by the change?
- How receptive are employees to change?
- What else is going on within the workplace that may affect their perception of change?
- What methods of communication will you use:
- Departmental memos
- Small group meetings
- All staff or all hands meetings
- One-on-one conversations
3. Set aside time to effectively socialize the initiative early on before you actually begin the work of the change initiative. Of course, if a change initiative is urgent and must be started immediately – you may be launching the initiative while socializing it. This is certainly acceptable, but be sure to hold off starting any work on areas where input is needed so that you can socialize it and get the information you need without people feeling as if their input is not valued or useless.
And remember…change initiatives are projects. Plan for the change initiative as you would any other project you are assigned using a simple project management approach.
Change initiatives are an important component of any company and certainly can be stressful and worrisome for employees. By socializing the upcoming change initiative, you are better able to increase employees’ comfort level, get their buy-in and you may find you learn a few things that will ensure a more successful change initiative! By taking a project management approach to your change initiative, you can better manage the change initiative and ensure that it stays on track and meets the needs of stakeholders.
Contact us today to learn more.