21 Best Practices in Change Management

What are a few best practices in change management?

This list is designed to answer that question.

Below, we’ll cover:

  • Tips, techniques, and tactics to implement throughout the change journey
  • Strategies and systems that can help you get measurable, positive results
  • Workflows, technologies, and tools

Among other things…

Let’s get started.

21 Best Practices in Change Management

This list can help get you off on the right foot in your next change project.

The best place to start is at the beginning:

1. Identify areas that will be impacted.

Which business functions will be affected?

Create a list of targets, as well as areas that will be impacted as a byproduct of your change.

2. Select a change framework, or create your own.

A change framework – such as the Lewin model or the ADKAR model – is essential.

These frameworks lay out a series of well-defined steps that businesses can follow to effect change.

3. Design a roadmap for change.

Using your change framework – and the other tips listed below – to design a roadmap for change.

Each stage of your roadmap should include goals, metrics, and detailed information about that stage of the journey.

4. Identify overall aims and set goals.

Your change plan should have clear, measurable goals.

Also, consider adding qualitative aims on the back of those measurable indicators.

5. Identify risks and create a risk management plan.

Risk mitigation should be a priority.

Use any and all information at your disposal to identify potential risks, then create a risk management plan.

6. Assess change readiness.

Change readiness refers to a few things – awareness, agility, ability, willingness, and capacity for change.

Understanding this will help you define project scope.

7. Assess digital maturity.

Where does your organization stand in regard to technical capabilities?

Today, digital maturity matters more than ever, directly impacting technology-related change efforts.

8. Know your enterprise change management level.

Enterprise change management is your organization’s formal, structured capability for change.

More mature organizations have more effective, formalized change processes, which makes for better change programs.

9. Make a case for – and obtain – executive buy-in.

Executive buy-in is crucial for success.

Sell leadership on the benefits of your change program as early as you can.

10. Develop an onboarding process.

Onboarding impacts employee support, resistance, and productivity.

Improve this process to achieve better results in your program.

11. Create a communication strategy with specific goals.

Communication is the most important skill in change management, according to some.

Create a strategy that aims at improving awareness, collaboration, cooperation, and so forth.

12. Set up a feedback collection process.

Feedback is critical, so establish a collection mechanism.

Use that feedback to inform decisions, fuel your communications program, and make adjustments as necessary.

13. Choose and implement digital adoption solutions.

Digital adoption solutions and platforms greatly improve employee productivity.

Implement them during onboarding, especially when adopting new technology or workflows.

14. Create KPIs, metrics, and a data collection system.

Change management KPIs and metrics will tell you where you stand.

Without it, you won’t understand how your program is progressing or what needs fixing.

15. Apply agile and lean business processes.

Staying agile and lean means using user input to fuel decision-making.

Collaborate with stakeholders constantly, and be open to changing your own change project.

16. Ensure alignment across all dimensions of the change plan.

Does your change program align with your corporate culture, strategy, and mission?

Make sure the change project, the vision of change, the organization’s mission, and all stakeholders are in sync.

17. Create a strategy for reinforcement.

Reinforcing change is crucial to cementing changes.

If you don’t reinforce change, people are more likely to revert to past habits.

18. Celebrate wins often.

Boost morale, motivation, and support by celebrating wins.

John Kotter advises starting these celebrations early on – this can prevent change fatigue and keep motivation high.

19. Train before and after roll-out.

The most successful change projects train before, during, and after a project.

This ever-present training helps to reinforce change, maximize competency, and improve employee productivity.

20. Be open to new ideas, wherever they come from.

You never know where the next great innovation can originate.

Solicit feedback regularly, as mentioned, but be sure to actually listen to that feedback. 

The ideas you gather from employees made help you make big improvements to your change program.

21. Improve continuously.

Never stop changing and never stop improving.

This principle holds true in both life and business – by following it, you will create a track record of success that only gets better over time.

Final Thoughts

These 20 best practices are based on well-established change management knowledge, frameworks, and literature.

However, change management is a deep subject. 

As mentioned in the last point here, keep improving your knowledge and your results … and your results will also improve.

For more change management best practices, read the other change management articles on this blog.

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.