Change in a business happens for many reasons and affects different people in different ways. There is a process that company management can follow that will help in managing change in a business. When you manage change, you attempt to facilitate the smooth evolution of the company. Managing change properly helps to maintain company morale, keeps the lines of communication open throughout the company and allows management to implement decisions that can help the success of the company.
- Discuss change ideas with company managers before implementing any new policies. The managers can give you input about how the proposed change will impact employees, and they can also suggest ways to implement change that would be easier and more beneficial to the company. Be sure to emphasize the need for the change to company managers so that they will understand why the change is important for the company. Create a sense of urgency by comparing what the company is like presently, to how much better the company will be after the change.
- Analyze the effects of change completely before deciding to pursue it. Once the company managers weigh in on your ideas, you can then take their input and determine the potential ways that the change will affect the company. Remember that implementing change all at once can cause confusion and frustrate employees. So analyze your change effects in stages, and determine how making the change will affect revenue, production and personnel.
- Put your ideas down on paper, and get input on your written ideas from managers within the company. Your written ideas will represent a change from your original ideas because of the consideration you have taken for the managers’ input earlier in the process.
- Discuss the final change schedule with your top executives and determine how to implement changes with the least amount of disruption to finance, human resources and production.
- Begin training employees on the change at least 60 days prior to implementing it. Circulate written material for employees to review when the change is introduced. As with your managers, be sure to emphasize the reason for the change so that the entire staff understands why the change is being made. When employees understand the reasons for a change, they are better able to get behind the change and help make it happen.
- Encourage employees to ask questions about the change, how it will affect the company and how it will affect their job by designating a team to handle questions about the change. Make that team easily accessible to employees. This helps to reinforce the understanding of the change.
Managing change within your organization can be difficult. In order to make change go smoothly, you need to instill in all the affected parties a sense of confidence that the change is positive. When you are managing a transition from an old organizational structure to a new one, you can take certain steps to help the entire company through the change without disrupting business.
According to an article on the Free Management Library website by professional organizational consultant Carter McNamara, an effective transition requires several kinds of managers. Among them are the manager who initiates the idea of change and points out the need, the manager who coordinates the transition, the manager who rallies the company to get behind the change and the manager responsible for seeing the change through. It is possible for one person to take on multiple roles, but these roles must be defined before the transition can begin.
A complete organizational transition can only be successful if the company feels the change needs to be made, according to management consultant John Covington in an article for the journal Industrial Management. The initial steps of change involve painting a business picture for the company that shows an essential need for change to avoid negative consequences.
The transition team should consist of the managers mentioned previously and any employees needed to make the change happen. Recruit employees from all parts of the company so workers can see that all departments are involved in the change. Gather support for the change from all company executives and managers, along with any strong leaders who may not be part of management. Group leaders and other employees who garner respect from workers should all be part of the transition team.
Lay Out the Plan
According to the online career resource Mind Tools, the transition plan should be put on paper so everyone knows what blueprint to follow. It should explain why the change is being made and what the company will look like when the transition from the old organizational structure to the new one is complete. The plan should lay out the new structure and how current personnel will fit into it.
It is not possible to get approval from every single employee in the company, nor is that a practical way to transition to a new structure. However, the company needs some consensus on the change. Take the plan to the various departments and get input. Compare the ideas you receive to the plan you have and make any necessary changes.
Finalize the Plan
When crafting the final transition plan, the transition team should carefully consider the employee input and the executive team’s vision. Create a comprehensive plan detailing how the transition will take place, how it will affect each department and the timetable for the change. The transition team should present the plan to the company with confidence, and the plan must be clear enough for employees to understand the vision and buy into it.
Clear the Path
Identify resources and employees within the organization that may cause obstacles to the transition, and deal with them. It may mean letting some employees go, hiring employees to fill vacancies identified by the transition plan, or changing the current office space or layout.
Mark the progress of the transition by milestones created during the planning phase. Keep the company updated on the progress of the change by reporting successes in reaching transition milestones. Once the final milestone is reached, the transition is complete.