Change in the workplace is inevitable, and every successful business must change to remain competitive. According to Gartner, a research and advisory company, the average business has seen five significant organizational changes within the last three years. Therefore, getting a better understanding of managing change in the workplace is crucial. This understanding is not only applicable to managers and business owners of big companies, but small teams can also benefit from recognizing the principles of managing change in the workplace.
This is why we have created the following guide to help navigate the changes in your organization.
The Meaning of Organizational Change
When it comes to change, most companies prefer organizational change. Because they believe that such a transition will improve efficiency and productivity while increasing innovation and profitability. But what is organizational change?
According to Harvard Business School, Organizational Change is the collection of actions a company or business takes to alter significant components of its organization. These components may include changes in culture, workplace management, the technologies and tools used, infrastructure, or internal processes.
Proper organizational change management is a critical factor for a company’s success.
There are two types of organizational change:
Adaptive changes refer to small changes and alterations in an organization’s processes that address evolving needs over time. These changes can be considered as the fine-tuning of the functions and strategies of a company. An example of such a change is upgrading from Windows 10 to 11.
Transformational changes, on the other hand, are more significant in scale and scope. These changes often involve a significant shift in mission and strategy, company structure, and business processes. Implementing a new work management software is an example of transformational change since all departments are expected to learn and work with it.
What is the Best Model for Managing Change?
Different articles about implementing change within a team offer various methods and tips for organizational change. Although reading and using multiple recommendations can help navigate the difficult path of change, following a scientifically proven model alongside using those tips is the best way forward.
There are various models and strategies for managing change in the workplace. However, Lewin’s model, Nudge Theory, and ADKAR are among the most well-known and used models. Here, you can see an overview of each model:
Lewin’s change model
Lewin’s model follows a 3-step process:
· Unfreezing: Analyzing current processes and how they can be improved.
· Changing: Facilitating change by guiding team members through the transition..
· Refreezing: Tweaking and then solidifying the changes.
Nudge change theory
Nudge theory is based on subtle and indirect suggestions and tweaks backed up by evidence that “nudge” the team members in the desired direction. The theory’s fundamental concepts are laid out below:
· Define changes
· Consider employee point of view
· Provide evidence to show the best options
· Present change as a choice
· Listen to employee feedback
· Limit options
· Solidify change with short-term wins
The ADKAR change model
The ADKAR model is a ground-up approach focusing on team members. Unlike other models, ADKAR doesn’t follow a sequential process; all its letters represent a goal. These goals are:
· Awareness (of the need to change)
· Desire (to participate in and support the change)
· Knowledge (on how to change)
· Ability (to implement required skills and behaviors)
· Reinforcement (to sustain the change)
In this model, instead of mandating a list of changes, managers talk to their team members to create awareness for change and then work alongside them to develop and implement improvements.
Although the previously mentioned models are among the most used and well-known ones, more than a dozen change management models exist that may better suit your team, therefore, we suggest you look for other proven change management models and choose the best model for your team and organization.
10 Tips for Managing Change in a Business
Let’s say you are familiar with organizational change and have chosen the best change management model for your team. Now what? Well, you should follow the steps mentioned in your chosen model. But in addition to doing that, look at the following tips for a smoother and healthier change journey.
Familiarize Yourself with the Change Process
Before starting the change process or even mentioning it to your team members or in a management meeting, you need to understand the change process. This depends on the change management model you have chosen for your team. In addition, you should understand the Change Management Principles (More on this topic shortly).
Recognize the Forces of Change in Workplace
Effective change management requires a complete understanding of why the change is necessary in the first place. Additionally, you need always to remember the “why” in change and remind other members of your team and managers as well. It’s best always to have a clear answer to the following questions:
What factors are motivating change?
Are these factors originating from within the organization, such as a change in leadership?
Or are they coming from external sources, like technological advancements, shifts within your industry, or the rise of new competitors?
Devise a Plan for Change
Once you understand the reasons behind the change, you should start working on a plan. You can use your change management model as a framework for your plan. This plan should offer a clear roadmap, outline key players, align with the reasons for change, and define its scope.
Be Ready for Obstacles
Regardless of how thorough your plan is and how much you have studied change and prepared your team, obstacles will occur, and you must be ready for them. A crucial part of prepping your team for the change process is reminding them of obstacles and teaching them how to deal with them effectively.
Pay Attention to Message Alignment
Manager meetings can be deceitful, as everyone may seem to agree on the change terms and express a unified and complete understanding of all the steps involved. You might think you have a clear and unified message to deliver to all your teams. But in reality, each manager has an entirely different understanding and delivers a different message to their team. To avoid this, you must emphasize message alignment and create and deliver a unified message to all the team members.
Prepare for Change Fatigue
According to Forbes, 70 percent of all change initiatives fail. The main reason for such a high failure rate is “change fatigue,” leading to employees returning to their old ways. You can recognize and stop change fatigue by expecting some teammates not to follow the new plans or use the new technologies. If you hear from one of your managers that a teammate isn’t following the new guidelines, you can set up a private meeting and discuss the reason for such behavior and alter the change plan if necessary.
Stick to Your Plans, but Stay Open to Adjustments
Planning is essential to anything, and managing change in the workplace is no exception. But you must remember that plans are not rigid and are there to provide a guideline and a framework to achieve a specific goal.
Not everyone will be thrilled upon hearing the news about implementing change in a business. Managers, team members, and stakeholders might resist the idea of change. Storytelling is one of the best ways to persuade them to agree and participate in the change process. In addition to showing them numbers and charts, you can provide specific examples of how things will improve once the change process is complete.
Be a Role Model for Change
As a manager or a business owner who wants to implement change in their organization, you should be the first to follow through with the change process. If your actions don’t align with the new vision, don’t expect the same from them. Also, team members often look up to their managers during change, and you must be there for them.
Create a Space for Feedback
Implementing change is not just about planning and reaching deadlines; it’s also about communicating with teammates. Team members and employees “on the ground” can offer valuable insight into how change is really happening and how things can be improved moving forward. Managers often overlook this insight. Don’t be such a manager; create a safe space for feedback and open conversation.
What are the Principles of Change?
No change management plan is the same, but you should know that they all follow certain principles. These principles are:
- Understand: Realizing that change is needed while acknowledging the reasons behind it.
- Plan: Planning based on the goals derived from the previous phase.
- Implement: Implementing the changes according to plan.
- Communicate: Communicating with team members and tweaking the changes if needed.
You can use Atwork workplace management system for managing changes in smart way.