In order to grow, an organization needs to go through several changes. These shifts may be in response to marketplace changes, or they can be planned as a result of taking the company in a new direction. Regardless, it’s critical to follow a change management strategy and ensure all stakeholders are kept up to date.
Define What Needs to Change
Implementing change in an organization starts by defining what shifts you need to make in your business. Specify what areas of your company require changes and articulate why those changes need to be made. This will help you to create a strategy and process to achieve your goals.
For example, if your company is looking to target a new market segment, will you be creating a new product line? Will you need to realign your organizational structure to ensure that there are key personnel dedicated to the new product line? Will you be hiring new employees or letting go of any existing employees?
Align Changes With Company Goals
Be sure to coordinate the changes you are making to your organization with the larger goals of the company. Is one of your objectives this fiscal year to increase profitability by 5%? How will the changes you’re proposing help you do that? Will the changes get you closer to your company goal or further away from it?
It’s critical to ensure that your changes and your organizational goals are aligned, otherwise you may not be able to achieve either initiative successfully.
Apply Organizational Change Management Strategies
Draft your outline for the process you’re going to use to institute change in your organization. Your plan may include:
- Goal: State the changes you’re proposing.
- Scope: Include what exactly needs to change.
- Schedule: What is the timeline for having the change completed?
- Costs: What expenses will this process incur?
- Resources: What personnel, infrastructure or equipment will you require for your change?
- Key performance indicators: How will you measure the success of your organizational change?
Be sure to carefully schedule your changes in several steps instead of making all the changes at once. This will help you to ensure that all employees are comfortable and ready for the changes. It will also allow you to make small tweaks to improve the plan as you go through it. Measure the success of your initiative as you progress so that you can ensure you’re on the right track.
Communicate Effectively With Everyone Affected
A successful organizational change process requires a solid communication strategy. Consider:
- What information you will need to communicate
- With whom you will need to communicate
- Which mediums you will be using for communication
- How often you will update your stakeholders
Employees can become uneasy during organizational change because they may fear for their jobs and their security within the company. It’s important to have open lines of communication and be honest with all stakeholders. Even if the news isn’t good news, being clear about the outcome helps everyone prepare for what’s next.
Be sure to have a plan to manage the feedback you will receive from your teams. What will you do with negative feedback, and how will you get those individuals on board? How will you share positive feedback with other employees to get them motivated?
Train and Support Employees Through the Change
When making large changes within your company, it’s imperative to provide your employees with the support they need to navigate the changes. Determine what skills are required to achieve the end results you seek. Do your employees have those skills, or will they require training to fill in the gaps?
You may need to offer behavioral training as well, especially to the management team. This will help them to deal with the changes and coach their front-line employees to do the same. Decide if you will need companywide training or if you will do smaller sessions for specific kinds of roles.
Measure and Analyze the Change Process
Throughout the changes taking place, measure the success of your plan. Are you closer to achieving your end result? Is your company closer to achieving its fiscal goals? Adjust and revamp your plan when needed to meet your objectives.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.