5 Essential Change Management Steps: How to Effectively Implement Changes in Your Organization

Learn the crucial steps of change management process to ensure high adoption of proposed changes and successful business transformation.

July 23, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!

Change management is an unfairly neglected term. Nowadays, more than ever, organizations are changing the way they work, the way they think, the way they do business. You could say the only constant is the change itself.

Yet, agile companies often miss the opportunity to manage the process of change. Most leaders focus on the procedural part of the change when it is happening, forgetting the more relatable, human aspect of it.

During the process of change, and before it, companies must ensure that they provide employees with new vision, lay out the foundations of a new company culture, encourage learning more, and communicate with their employees the right way.

A big part of change management is modifying the way employees think, act, and behave. All this can heavily influence employee engagement and experience, especially if the change is substantial and lengthy.

📢  Read on to learn how experts define change management and how you can ensure that your employees embrace the organizational changes you implement while staying engaged in their work.

Change Management Definition

Change management involves applying a structured process of change in organizations. Such change can involve operational, technological, strategic, or mission shifts. The main mission of change management teams is to achieve a desired outcome – usually, to have people embrace the change, engage in it, and use it in their everyday work.

change management

Organizational Change Types

Now that we’ve defined change management, let’s find out what kind of organizational change can you support with such a process.

Mission changes

It is fair to say that mission changes are among the rarest types of changes in a company. Some of the most famous companies that have changed their core products include Nintendo, LG, Gap, and Instagram.

All these companies pivoted to different products there once were not their main focus. In today’s startup world, this is a more common occurrence. In order to survive such deep transformation, companies often adopt change management best practices.

Strategic changes

Strategic change is less comprehensive than a mission change, but it can still deeply impact businesses and their processes. Examples of strategic changes include switching to online sales, catering to different demographics, or changing the way you approach a certain business process.

In other words, strategic changes are ones that help companies tackle their problems from another point of view. The main challenge? Getting the rest of the company on board and making them see value in your strategy.

During COVID-19 pandemic, many companies implemented strategic changes to ensure business continuity.

Operational changes

Operational changes include restructuring or reorganization of companies, but also changes in teams on a smaller scale due to more encompassing organizational transformation like strategic one.

Since operational changes can be sensitive and can include layoffs, it is important to ensure change management is thoughtfully planned and led by the right people.

change management

Technology changes

In most cases nowadays, organizational changes in companies include switching to new technologies. Technology is advancing at an enormous speed, and organizations need to keep up in order to stay competitive.

It is especially important to apply best change management practices if the software you want to implement is an employee experience or employee engagement solution.

In that case, you want to increase adoption rates of the software at hand because it will benefit your employees: it has the power to change your workplace culture. Moreover, it can bring other positive changes to your organization – like higher employee retention and increased employee productivity.

Essential Steps of the Change Management Process

When implementing changes in your company, like introducing a new employee recognition platform, you know that the success of your initiative will depend on how well the change is adopted.

How do you ensure effective change management when we know that around 70% of change initiatives fail

change management

Follow these steps to cover all aspects of the change management process and improve your organizations’ chances for success.

1. Preparation

In order to successfully implement changes in your company, you must plan for them. However, employers mainly focus on procedural steps they need to make in order to bring changes.

On the other hand, it is important to have employees on your side from day one. In the preparation phase of the change management process, managers should help employees recognize and understand the need for change.

For example, if the organization wants to implement a new employee recognition software, they might want to explain how useful it would be to easily appreciate their peers for successful collaboration or assistance in other areas.

2. Vision and planning

Once you prepare your employees for the change mentally, it is time to plan and share your strategic vision.

Here are some questions to help you cover this crucial step of change management process:

  • What are the strategic goals? How can the change improve the business?
  • What will be the KPIs we will track the efficiency of the change management process?
  • Who will oversee the change management? Who are the key stakeholders in every step of the process?
  • What is the project scope? Which employees and departments will be affected and to what degree?
  • Where can we expect roadblocks and bottlenecks?
  • Which new abilities and skills do we wish our employees to adopt? How will they learn them?
  • How will we communicate the changes to the employees? 
  • How do we ensure long-term adoption of the changes?

📢  It is alarming that 52% of employees do not know their company’s vision. Do not let this be the case if you want to transform your company!

change management

3. Implementation

During the implementation stage of the change management process, leaders must ensure that employee motivation and employee morale are at the satisfactory level.

📢 In this stage, the communication of the organizational vision is of utmost importance. See how you can embed it in your internal communication strategy or include the change management vision into your employee newsletter.

Moreover – if you are making a technological change and are implementing a new employee recognition software, get our internal communications plan to launch and manage an employee recognition program.

Internal Communications for Employee Recognition

4. Embedding the change into company culture

Some experts would argue that the change is not implemented until it is completely embedded into the company culture. Others would say that the implementation of the change – for example, a new technology – is different than its long-term adoption.

In this stage of the change management process, employers must ensure that employees are not backsliding into the “old way” of doing things. You can control this by empowering your managers to apply the best management styles and frequently use employee surveys.

5. Analysis and repetition

As mentioned before, many of the change initiatives fail. This is why, if your change implementation process is finished, you need to evaluate if it was successful.

Conducting analysis can help leaders understand why the change management was or was not successful. Furthermore, this can offer valuable insights for similar projects in the future.

Why Should You Master Change Management When Implementing New Employee Experience Software

If you set out to implement a new employee experience software, you are probably aware of the many benefits it could bring. However, enterprise companies’ systems are highly complex, and the workforce is dispersed in many locations. Therefore, the change management process is usually lengthy.

Here is why you should apply change management best practices when switching to a new employee experience technology.

Improve employee engagement

You probably do not want to wait until the change management process is completely finished to see your employees’ engagement rise. Since high employee engagement brings myriad of benefits to the organization, why not use the momentum of change and inspire employees during the change management process itself?

change management

Decrease employee turnover

Many employees leave their organization because of poor experience. For example, 32% of employees leave their jobs because they are unsatisfied with the recognition for their contributions.

If you are implementing the employee experience software in your company to address these problems, it would be wise to communicate the positive changes they can expect after the new technology is implemented.

Maximize your ROI

In the end, switching to a new technology is costly, although it is an investment rather than an expense. Therefore, you should ensure a smooth change management process to maximize your return on investment.

📢 Get our knowledge brief on Maximizing the ROI of Employee Recognition and learn which pivotal capabilities allow organizations to extract the maximum value from their employee recognition programs, which ultimately leads to higher productivity, performance, and business success.