Few people relish change. People inherently fear the unknown, and change can often come with unforeseeable outcomes. Change can also upset the status quo, altering systems of status and providing people with a sense that they have lost control of their environment. Even change that promises to have positive effects can and almost certainly will inspire resistance.
Thus, long before business leaders enact any kind of change, they need to prepare by studying change management. Change management is a growing field that focuses on strategies and tools for finding success amidst and after any kind of change. Here is a quick introduction to four types of change management — along with a few tech tools leaders can use to make change easier for everyone.
When change affects every member of the staff, regardless of their role or department, that change should be considered organization-wide change. As one might expect from the name, organization-wide changes tend to be revolutionary and extremely important for the survival of the company; they may concern mergers or acquisitions, or they may involve policy changes from HR. Generally, when organization-wide changes occur, they are communicated to the staff by the executive team, who is responsible for guiding attitude and action toward successful change.
To navigate organization-wide change, it helps to have a robust professional services software that helps executives align goals across teams. Tools like Wrike also help to increase transparency, building greater trust between workers and leaders even during times of significant change.
Personnel change occurs on a small scale when an individual worker joins or leaves the tam, and it occurs on a large scale when an organization acquires a company or undergoes massive layoffs. Because personnel changes are unavoidable, many business leaders neglect to recognize the impact they can have on the performance of their team. High rates of employee turnover tend to result in lower morale, and an overabundance of new workers can dramatically shift the workplace culture.
Fortunately, there are many tech tools that HR and other departments can utilize to reduce the impact of personnel change. To start, an onboarding system makes it much easier to integrate new employees into existing teams with orientation and training programs to get them up to speed fast. Additionally, organizations should have tools and tactics for improving employee engagement, like recognition software, to reduce resignation rates. These tools should help soften the blow of personnel changes to keep workers comfortable and productive.
Unplanned change might be among the most frightening phrases for business leaders, who do not relish the idea of deviating from business plans without plenty of opportunity to strategize. However, unplanned changes are not always negative; most are neutral, and some can be made positive given the right tools at the right time. Some examples of unplanned changes include the introduction of new industry regulations that invalidate an organization’s current compliance program or a natural disaster disrupting supply lines and preventing the delivery of materials and products.
Business leaders should be constantly involved in risk management, which can reduce the potential for unplanned changes. After all, if a leader can develop a contingency plan for every scenario, then unplanned changes might cease to occur. Additionally, organizations can invest in technology solutions that expect to navigate changes, like regulatory change management software for industries subject to heightened regulation.
When organizations must initiate change as a reaction to a problem, they participate in remedial change. Remedial changes will occur when departments struggle to make use of ineffective and expensive tools, when teams consistently miss performance goals or when individual workers create friction in the workplace.
Rather than being punitive to the teams and individual workers affected by them, remedial changes should provide constructive feedback, offer support and eliminate ineffective and dangerous workplace elements. Leaders can better identify the need for remedial change when they employ tools to measure data related to performance, like Basecamp or Performyard.
Change is never easy, but it is particularly trying when one is trying to navigate change alone. With a good strategy and the right tools, organizations can survive and thrive amidst all sorts of changes — especially the most common four listed above