What is change management?
Change management is the discipline that guides the way in which employees are prepared, equipped and supported to successfully adopt changes.
For that, it takes place through a structured approach that aims to guarantee that the transformations are implemented in a complete and, at the same time, smooth way — which leads to the promotion of objectives and the advancement of organizational purposes.
Thus, change management can be defined as the application of a structured process and a set of tools to guide the human side of changes. Its focus is on broader impacts and how professionals, individually and collectively, move from the previous situation to the new one.
Since it is the people in the company who, in fact, need to transfigure the way they work, if they are not successful in this process or not involved – failing to learn new ways of acting, thinking and doing – the changes will fail and the expected results will not be reached.
In this context, change management makes it possible to break internal paradigms and provide transformations even at the deepest levels of the company. It is worth noting that the change we are talking about here can range from a simple change in the process to major changes in the policy or strategy of a given company.
What are the benefits of change management?
As we’ve seen, effective change management significantly increases the chances that a new project will meet objectives and be successful. In this case, when implemented according to specific indications, the tool becomes a very decisive element for the results that the changes will bring to the company.
Overall, change management drives the successful adoption and utilization of change within the company. Enabling employees to understand and commit to the news that are being implemented.
Thus, it not only makes the process easier, it also allows the organization to absorb a greater flow of changes to be carried out. This increases competitiveness and eventually reduces business costs, as the company reduces errors and has less difficulty applying new changes.
In addition, we can highlight other benefits of change management, such as:
- increases the productivity and quality of the service/product provided;
- brings prosperity to the company;
- decreases risks;
- improves employee performance;
- expands the possibilities for innovation;
- helps close the bottleneck between requirements and results;
- improves the quality of life of the team;
- benefits internal communication ;
- increases profitability;
- generates competitive advantage.
It is important to emphasize, therefore, that without effective organizational change management, transitions can be difficult and costly in terms of time and resources. Furthermore, the absence of efficient management can result in low efficiency of professionals, as well as a reduction in productivity and even an increase in turnover in the company.
What are the impacts of changes for companies?
In the market, changes are constant, especially when we refer to technologies. Any company that cannot keep up with these transformations ends up falling behind its competitors. Therefore, success is directly linked to the ability of organizations to adapt to innovations , without losing their identity in the process.
Changes can come in different environments and in different ways. Therefore, it is necessary to develop strategies focused on your goals. This practice became the necessary foundation to direct efforts and ensure good results for companies.
In the business scenario, resistance to change is quite common. It occurs because of different factors, such as fear of the unknown, lack of professional training, interference with personal interests and even due to social values.
Valuing teams is essential for producing better results in change management. Therefore, knowing how to take advantage of human capital has become one of the main obstacles when adapting to them. In this process, the attitude that organizations adopt towards their employees is the main factor that will determine the success or failure of their efforts.
Steps to start managing change?
Both to adapt to new technologies and to adopt new management processes, communication between the company and stakeholders is essential. It is necessary that everyone understands the need to keep up with innovations and the benefits they bring. On this path, some steps are essential, as you can see below.
set the goals
As with all planning, it is essential to start by defining the objectives of change within the company’s organizational culture. What is expected? What will be the positive and negative impacts? What factors should be considered? How will the project be structured?
Identify what needs to be improved
Given that changes occur to improve processes, products or results, it is essential to identify the focus and clarify the goals. As well as identifying the resources and professionals who will be responsible for implementing the process and leading the way.
Every organizational change generates impacts for the people involved. These are called stakeholders or interested parties, according to the language of the PMBOK Guide — a reference in project management in the world. To generate engagement, map everyone’s expectations and needs and devise effective strategies.
Create a test plan
Before implementing a new process or new technology, establish a testing period for each step of the process. Thus, the company can plan for possible problems that affect the work flow, causing delays and inconvenience for customers.
Throughout the process, a framework to measure the impact of business transformations must be implemented. That is, it is necessary to carry out assessments to determine their effectiveness and document experiences and improvements.
Also, make sure everything is as planned and show employees and customers how worthwhile the implementation process was. By applying these steps, you will be able to achieve excellent change management and ensure your organization adapts to the most complex situations. With that, you will have in your hands a great competitive advantage and will consolidate your business in the market.
What are the main challenges of managing change?
Even though they happen in different ways, the main challenge — present in all types of organizational changes — is to make leaders play their roles and embrace the changes that are taking place continuously, accompanying employees throughout the process.
In this context, change management is consolidated as the approach that helps the organization to promote transformation in a structured and well-managed way. Therefore, especially during the implementation phase of the action plans, the following functions related to change management are highlighted:
- Sponsorship: it is essential to certify that there is active sponsorship in the top hierarchy of an organization to carry out the change. Engagement is a key to achieving the desired results;
- buy-in : the buy-in is what each one initially gives up to get involved with something. In this sense, it is important for change management as it seeks to gain initial resources from everyone involved, either directly or indirectly;
- Engagement: Another important point is the need to involve the right people in designing and implementing change. This allows for the appropriate changes to be made, in addition to causing a sense of belonging on the part of employees;
- impact: for effective change management, it is essential to map and assess how changes will affect people in the organization;
- communication: in addition to the previous aspect, it should be communicated to everyone who — and how — will be affected by the changes;
- readiness: Last but not least, you should get people ready to adapt to change, ensuring they have the right information, training and help. In this case, realignment needs may arise.