Why is Change Management Important?
We’ve all been there.
At the end of our limit; overworked and stressed when, suddenly, our boss comes up to us and asks us to take on extra responsibilities or just do this “one small task”.
It’s inconvenient at best, overwhelming at worst. Situations like these can force people into early burnout; ruining average productivity levels and employee satisfaction.
Now, you might be wondering… how is this relevant to change?
Although change doesn’t always add to a workload (like automation), it’s a lot to deal with for a busy team. As a result, you may encounter some resistance to the new initiatives you want to introduce.
That’s why change management is important in an organization.
Table of Contents
What is Change Management?
Change management is the process where relevant business stakeholders (including employees and customers) are prepared for and supported through organizational change, whether that be the introduction of an unfamiliar system or a complete overhaul of how a business operates.
Why is Change Management Important?
As we’ve discussed a little bit before on our blog page, change is never easy. Wouldn’t life be much better if it was?
When we’re experiencing a high level of change in our lives, we often feel like we’ve been thrown into the deep end – and it’s scary.
Remember what you felt when you moved house, job, or school. It was a difficult and challenging process where you encountered many challenges.
The same rings true in workplace environments.
When your staff suspect they’ll struggle with the change you want to introduce, they are immediately going to feel defensive. Why? It’s how humans are psychologically wired.
When this happens, there are no winners or losers.
You’ll be cross at your team for not listening to you and your employees will be upset because their needs aren’t being met. Team relationships will be put on the line.
Eventually, the situation might just spiral into something uncontrollable that it’s almost impossible to come back from.
Thankfully, though, there is an answer to all these problems… change management.
Why is it Important to Manage Organizational Change?
By investing time, energy – and sometimes money – into change management, you ensure your employees have a smooth experience during transnational periods (keeping them happy).
What’s more? Organizational change management adds to your employer brand, giving an opportunity to demonstrate that the needs of your staff are a priority to you above all else.
When you implement employee-centric change management, you express:
- That you understand that change isn’t easy.
- That you recognize it might be tough.
- That the change wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t necessary.
- That you’ll do everything you can to help them through it.
You’ll be ready with the answers to their questions, and they’ll have someone to look up to throughout the entire process – increasing success rates across the board.
The Reasons We Reject Change in the Workplace
So, now you understand why change management is important. You might already be brainstorming what strategy you can use, but, before then, it’s important to reflect on why your employees are resistant to change.
Firstly, an unwillingness to be accepting of change might stem from a lack of awareness. When employees aren’t kept in the loop, there’s bound to be uncertainty; meaning our “fight” or “flight” response kicks in. Nobody likes the unknown.
2. Cause and Effect
On the other hand, resistance can form because of the impacts of change. Let’s say, for example, you’re merging with another company and some employees are being given different job titles. For some, this might mean a promotion. For others, it might feel like a demotion (even if their control and pay don’t change). In this case, they aren’t going to be happy. Why should they be?
3. Insufficient Support
Finally, employees also reject change when they don’t have the right guidance. After all, an employee can’t pick up a new skill without training opportunities.
Businesses rush into change because they want to stay up-to-date and relevant in the market – often forgetting about the people who are impacted by their decisions…
That’s another reason why change management.is so important.
Understanding the Types of Change Management
That doesn’t mean there’s an easy recipe to follow, though. Change is often circumstantial, so being flexible with your approach, and using different types of change management, is key.
1. Developmental Change Management
Are you looking to simply improve work procedures that are already in place, rather than replace them entirely? If so, then developmental change management is the option for you. It involves providing a robust learning and development scheme that directly supports organizational change.
2. Transitional Change Management
However, if you are replacing one structure with another, then you might need a strategy a little more advanced. Transitional change management oversees structural changes to your organization to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met.
3. Transformational Change Management
Alternatively, when change is completely reshaping your business, you’ll need transformational change management. Through it, you can set clear expectations on how work is to be completed in the future and guide employees through knowledge.
How to Implement a Change Management Plan
So, we’ve looked at why change management is important, explored why your employees might be resistant to change, and even covered some of the various approaches you can use to manage change within your organization. Now, you’re ready to start designing a plan that’s unique to you.
Step 1. Create Your Vision
All plans start with a clear set of goals or outcomes that guide the rest of your decision-making. These should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based (SMART). Plot out every element of your change and every task that will be required for your employees – including when you’d like to conduct their training.
Step 2. Identify Resistance Areas
Once you have an idea in mind of what needs to change (and how), you’ll need to consider which employees might resist and ensure there is a support network in place before trouble arises.
Step 3. Communicate With Employees
Then, communicate with your team to explain:
- Why the change is happening.
- When the change is happening.
- What the change is.
- How the change will affect them.
- What support they can access.
Step 4. Prepare Your Organization
After communicating with the relevant teams, you might need to make some minor changes to prepare for a bigger one. Make sure you are present to answer questions throughout this process.
Step 5. Implement the Change
Then, when you’ve given your team as much warning as possible, introduce the change as slowly as possible – listening to feedback along the way. Divert resources into training for your employees and, even if your personal tasks pile up, continue to remember why change management is important.
Our Top Tip for Successful Change Management
You aren’t alone.
We’ve noticed that many business owners feel responsible for managing organizational change, and try to tackle the issue by themselves.
However, you have the support of your team behind you (as long as you communicate with them).
If you want to be successful with your change management, always use the resources available to you – such as your colleagues – to deliver the best experience possible for your employees.
Why is Change Management Important? – FAQs
Still, have questions about why change management is important? That’s okay! Perhaps these FAQs can help.
Why is organizational change so important?
Businesses need to evolve over time in order to embrace new technologies that can help them be more efficient, or adapt to the demands of their market.
Why is change management important in an organization?
Change is stressful and can harm employee productivity. Change management combats this, ensuring employee well-being is maintained and your business can continue operations.
What is the most important thing in change management?
Without a doubt, communication. Suddenly implementing change without warning your employees can cause frustration among your team and make them more likely to reject it.
What are the benefits of effective change management?
The main ones are higher adoption rates, lower resistance, and truly satisfied employees. When you provide all the tools they need to succeed, there’s no reason they shouldn’t embrace change.
Digital Change Management Support through Userlane
There’s one key change that’s happening across most organizations at the moment, and it’s one that is necessary for business survival… digital transformation.
If your employees are struggling to embrace the ever-evolving climate and struggling with the new software systems you’d like them to use, then Userlane’s Digital Adoption Platform can help.
As one of the top change management software solutions, it overlays new systems that you want to introduce to your employees to provide real-time guidance and support.
For more information on how you can move your company to the future, reach out to our team today.