“Change Management” is a budget line item and a meeting agenda topic that we have seen more and more in many of our very large, very complex projects. I heard the term talked about around our office in regards to particular clients, and understood that it was a major part of our role as project managers. However, it was several months before I realized that I had no idea what change management actually is. When I finally asked, “what is change management?” I was intrigued by the thoughtfulness behind this burgeoning need in corporate changes.
What is change management?
By definition, change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change both from the perspective of an organization and the individual employee. Essentially, having a change management process is taking a proactive approach to dealing with change.
Oftentimes, when a company is making a major global change, like relocating the office, using a new provider for a major service, etc., many aspects of the organization are changed: processes, systems, organizational structure, job roles, etc.
When creating a change management plan, the organization, looks at the process, tools and techniques it will take to manage the people side of the change, in order to achieve the required outcome. The point is to help employees make successful personal transitions resulting in the adoption and realization of change.
What does this look like?
When a company is going through a major change a change management plan will be put in place. This may be done by an outside change management consultant, but internal stakeholders will have a heavy role in deciding the best way to roll changes out to the organization.
The change management plan will include communications to the employee base, a plan to roll out new systems, a timeline for introducing changes and a scope of work that is broken down into many work streams.
If a company is moving from a traditional office environment to an open plan, this will be a dramatic shift for most employees. A change management plan will include instructions on how to use the new office environment; how to use huddle rooms, conference rooms, soft seating areas; when and where to take conference calls; even policies for eating at your desk.
Change management takes a practical and systematic look at the changes that will impact an organization and puts a process in place for managing these changes during employee transition.