There are many benefits of change management – and there are many cons of change mismanagement.
Below, we’ll learn about both in detail.
Namely, we’ll explore:
- The benefits of well-executed, well-managed change programs
- Why it is so important to effectively manage change
- The downsides of unmanaged or mismanaged change efforts
Change managers, change leaders, and aspiring change leaders will learn why and how to develop a well-structured change program.
The Benefits of Change Management
There are many benefits of change management … when it is done right.
We’ll break down the benefits into separate categories:
Change programs can be small or large.
And they can impact different numbers of people in different areas.
However, when executed properly, change programs have a positive impact on stakeholders such as:
- Frontline employees
- Leaders and managers
The nature of the impact varies greatly depending on the purpose of the change program.
Here are a few examples of how people can benefit from, for instance, digital adoption:
- Improved workflows and technical processes – New technology often streamlines work tasks, automating mundane tasks and freeing up staff time for more important work
- Happier, more satisfied employees – Employees benefit from upskilling and easier work flows, improving engagement and satisfaction
- Improved collaboration and communication – New digital tools almost always include in-app collaboration features, enhancing employees’ ability to work as a team
These are a few ways that the people can benefit from, in this case, a digital adoption effort.
However, there are other benefits that come with effective change.
For the organization, strategic advantages are the top priority.
Every change initiative is aimed primarily at making an organization more competitive.
Below, we’ll continue with the example of digital adoption.
Here are a few ways an organization would benefit from such an initiative:
- Decreased operational costs – Every digital tool helps to automate, streamline, and cut costs for some business process, such as sales, marketing, customer relationship management, or training
- Higher output levels – Technology also tends to amplify the results of whichever process it is applied to
- Boosted top and bottom line results – Directly or indirectly, digital enhancements have a positive impact on a company’s profits
Because every change initiative is unique to the organization, its benefits will also be unique.
The Drawbacks of Change Mismanagement
As you might expect, mismanaged change programs can have negative impacts.
This is why it is absolutely critical to properly invest in, lead, and manage your change initiatives.
Here are some of the downsides you can expect from unmanaged or mismanaged projects.
Not all organizational programs succeed.
And even if they do succeed, they are not always executed well.
In some cases, change programs are thrust upon unwilling employees.
When programs fail or are poorly executed, the workplace suffers:
- Morale goes down
- Faith in the leadership drops
- Productivity and output suffer
Employee resistance can even kill a change program before it gets off the ground.
There are also cases where inertia drags the company back to its old way of doing things.
This can deal a blow to the workplace culture, the employees’ self-confidence, and their confidence in leadership.
It can also be expensive for the organization itself.
Ineffective change management can have a negative effect on the organization itself.
Failed or mismanaged programs can, for instance:
- Go over budget
- Exceed deadlines
- Fall short of intended targets
- Produce no benefits whatsoever
In worst case scenarios, organizational changes can be complete wastes of time and money.
Recommendations for Effective Change Management
Managing change is no easy task.
However, due diligence can prevent costly errors and ensure a program stays on track.
Here are a few recommendations for managing your change program effectively.
People are the beating heart of any change endeavor.
Without their support, a project cannot succeed.
For this reason, put people first:
- Develop a thorough employee training and onboarding program
- Minimize resistance through open, ongoing communication
- Identify supporters early on, then leverage those relationships
Support from the top, of course, is just as important as support from ground-level employees.
Also make sure you secure executive sponsorship … well before your program begins.
Because executives are most interested in organizational success, frame your case from that perspective.
- Build your program around organizational strategy
- Define a plan that benefits your target executive sponsors
- Ensure that your program can demonstrate measurable ROI and results
It is true that employees are the heart of an organization and a change project – but without the organization there would be no staff at all.
For this reason, the organization must take precedence when designing your change strategy.
Conclusion: To Reap the Rewards of Change, Manage Effectively
Change is inevitable and necessary in today’s economy.
However, it is not easy.
There is a real danger that programs can fail or miss their targets.
However, with careful planning and thorough research, it is possible to execute change that delivers real benefits – both to an organization and its people.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.