Organizational change is inevitable in the workplace, and if poorly implemented, work can come to a literal halt. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, changes are about the only thing we can count on regularly these days. Being able to guide effective change management is as important as ever here in the new normal. Changes are not limited to personnel, and that should be as obvious as anything right now, as every single industry has had to make drastic upgrades in how they conduct their business in order to stay afloat and “keep the lights on” during the pandemic.
From new tech in the remote workplace to different styles of customer service due to online commerce, and even now compliance with local and national ordinances relating to the coronavirus, change is an everyday occurrence in the 2020 workplace no, no matter where that workplace is. Here are some tips on how to guide effective change management techniques to ensure everything goes as quickly and as deeply understood as possible.
Thoroughly Describe the Why and How of a Given Change
Not too many people actually want change in their daily grinds, so clearly defining why something being done is a good way to get your team more on board. Whether it be adapting to a new boss, or simply changing communication processes because a new remote work program is being implemented, be sure to be very clear as to why something is happening. If there is also a “who” in the equation, as in a person that will be leading the implementation, be sure that individual is part of your explaining process so they don’t get eaten alive by unwilling employees who don’t know why they are interrupting another workflow.
Analyze Before, During, and After Changes
There are two things the world has a lot more of now than it did a decade ago: people and data, and though nothing can make change implementation a true breeze, the latter can sure make it a lot easier to do, and a lot easier for your team to understand. Performance psychology is what many coaches use to get the best out of their players, and it can relate to the office as well, especially when new changes are difficult to understand. One way to really make the “why” stick is by sharing the data you used to inform your decisions regarding changes. Data analysis should be your reason for making changes, so ensure your team understands how to “read” the analysis, and they should be more apt to make a given change a priority if the reasons for said change are laid out with references like big data.
Plan for Change
This one piggybacks on analyzing a bit, and data can be a wonderful resource for getting ahead of changes. Machine learning is an offshoot of artificial intelligence, and in the business world, data analysts can program their AI to collect data on trends in the industry and predict what kinds of changes are going to happen. This used to be a job for analysts who used data to make these decisions, but now the machine learning makes it easy for anyone to see the future expectations of a given part of your industry.
Ultimately, a book could (and many have) been written on how to guide effective change management, and it’s so important when keeping a steady workflow and meeting deadlines through employee turnovers and new internal processes, restructuring departments, and even changing locales (like the moves to remote work), but regardless of the kind of change, implementation practices should be fairly similar, and everyone involved should be highly educated on the reasons the changes are being made.
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.