Leadersteps for Change Management

By: Together Abroad 30-11-2015

Categories:** HR Change Management, ** HR Leaders Talk,

In this day and age, businesses have to deal with an increasing amount of internal and external factors that evoke the need to continuously adapt to an ever-changing environment. There are new technologies being developed almost every day, and people are not restricted anymore to stay at one place for their whole life but can travel all over the world which gives new opportunities as well as challenges to businesses regarding their recruitment practices. Customer expectations are different now than they were some years ago, and fast growing start-ups face various problems in order to keep up with their competitors.
Companies have to make changes within their organisation to deal with the new technological, demographical, and environmental developments. So business strategy, structures and corporate culture have to be reviewed and adapted to the new situation in order to stay competitive. It is therefore necessary to enhance an adequate change management within your business. It is especially important for a person in a leadership position to get active and fulfil the tasks of initiating change management in the first place. That is why there will be five steps presented that leaders have to comply with to help manage change within their workspace appropriately.

Analysis of current situation

In the beginning it is crucial to have a very close look onto your organisation. It is absolutely necessary to know exactly what the business structure looks like, what are the overall strategies, what is the working culture, how hierarchical is it, ect. However, attention has to be given to how practices and the environment has changed outside your business. What is your market and who are your competitors, who is your target group and what are their expectations, how do you acquire new members for your company etc. After having gained a detailed overview of your business and its environment, you have to elaborate why the company needs to change and adapt to a new situation. What exactly is different now? Why is that so important that it needs to be considered? This has to be stated explicitly and thereby the underlying goal pursued by changing the company will also be defined. This makes it a lot easier to keep focus on that goal and to avoid losing track during the process.

Communication to everyone

Communicate the need to change throughout the whole company. For a successful change to happen, it is necessary that the employees directly impacted by the change in the company know exactly what is going on and why, so that they won’t be taken by surprise and try to resist. The more people are in favour for the change project because of clearly understanding the need of it, the easier it will be to put the determined actions into practice. So use general meetings, the intranet and other panels to give your employees an overview of why changing the current organisation is necessary.

Creation of the right project team
There is a high need to create a group of people that will be responsible for the change. It should be a group of people from inside the company, as they are affected very much by the project and in addition should have a specific inside view and knowledge regarding the company. They should also be volunteers because then, employees are usually more passionate and motivated to do the best they can to improve their business and working environment. They have to be willing to devote a lot of their time to drive the change as the day-to-day business has to be run alongside the project as well. The right group should consist of people that are intensively but voluntarily supporting the project and passionate about the change topic. Furthermore, it is helpful to enable networking, that is to say, to bring together employees working in all areas of the business, with various knowledge and experience backgrounds. When their specific skills are needed, these experts are contacted and then involved in the project work. Thereby, the group diversity will provide profound knowledge in different fields but is managed in the most time-efficient way. Following that principle, the most suitable and helpful changes will be developed. The “army of volunteers” is one of the most crucial parts of the change process.

Planning your change to include short-term goals
To show your motivation towards change as a leader, to act as a role model for the rest of your company, you should engage into the change project team as well. Try to set the focus in the beginning on creating a clear plan on how to reach the change goals. It should consist of the various steps of what to do, when to do it, who is involved etc. It is necessary to write down not only the overall objective which will be reached in the long-term view, but to also include short-term goals as well. Each goal, be it a big one or a small one, that is successfully implemented and can be marked off, is a motivation factor for the project team and the employees. So they will finally see the outcomes of the work they did put into that project and if these outcomes are helpful, they will intensify their contribution to the project even more.

Feedback and continuous change

Finally, it is necessary to collect feedback of people affected by the change implementations. Do they notice any improvements? Are there still any adaptions necessary or do they also have other ideas now, how to improve the organisation? When you are able to state the benefits brought to the company after successfully implementing the change actions, communicate them throughout the whole company. The result of this will be gaining more support among your employees and convince more sceptic membvers of your business that the changing process was a good thing to do. You reinforce the importance and need of change that was stated in the beginning. That is important to create a working culture in which change is accepted and continuously pursued in order to keep the business competitive in this fast changing world.