Change is not something that you do to people, change is something that you do with people. What thoughts occur when you or your staff are notified of a significant change to a process or service? Is it one of dread, fear or perhaps frustration? Managing organizational change should be a required element in any or all process and service changes where significant impact for users and staff are expected. Service providers must ensure readiness for the change and ensure that a cultural shift does indeed take place. Organizations change for a variety of reasons that could include the need to “get better” or perhaps to “be the best”. Sometimes organizational change management is triggered by the need to deal with a changing economy or revenue loss.
At the outset, management must be honest with workers and still able to convince them that the best way to deal with current reality is via change. Each individual’s ability to understand and to accept change will vary. Change is inevitable and, to some degree, so too is the discomfort associated with it. This is particularly true when the change is major, such as when a new process is implemented or when an existing process is significantly changed. Change is also essential to an organization’s ability to mature and grow, so efforts must be taken to support and encourage workers throughout the change to maximize the benefits of the change and to minimize risk.
Successful Organizational Change Management (OCM) will require:
- A clear understanding of the existing culture and agreement on a common vision for change.
- Upper management support and strong executive leadership to communicate the vision and articulate the benefits for change. The message should include a sense of urgency.
- A strategy and an engagement plan for communicating and for educating employees about how their day-to-day work will change. The ongoing benefits should be communicated.
- A concrete plan for how to measure whether the change is a success and follow-up plans for both successful and unsuccessful results. Some way to validate actions is helpful to ensure ongoing improvement and cultural shift is taking place.
- Rewards that might include monetary as well as non-monetary incentive. Acknowledgement and incentives should encourage individuals and groups to take ownership for their new roles and responsibilities.
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