A change management handbook is an excellent tool for any change manager.
Online, you can find plenty of change management handbooks.
These are useful because they describe change management in a nutshell … what you should do, how to do it, and why.
However, in this article we’ll explain how to create your own change management handbook.
Why Create Your Own Change Management Handbook?
A change management handbook is a document that:
- Describes the aim and purpose of your program
- Explains who is involved and what their roles are
- Outlines timelines and objectives for each stage of the journey
A documented strategy has a few benefits.
For instance, it can:
- Act as a go-to reference for anyone involved in the project – saving you from fielding inquiries and questions
- Keep everyone clear on the priorities, goals, and objectives throughout the change journey
- Serve as a cornerstone of your communications strategy, keeping all parties in-the-know
- Provide documentation for correspondence with stakeholders, business leaders, and executives
- Become a guide that will prevent you from making the same change management mistakes in the future
Among many other things.
Also, later on, this document can help you learn what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do better next time.
How to Create Your Own Change Management Handbook
Below are some important details to include when creating your change management handbook.
Naturally, you can add more sections and details – or less.
What is important is that you have a documented plan and strategy, as mentioned above.
Here are some of the most important ingredients to add to your handbook:
Clearly, every change program should have a designation.
It does not have to be anything fancy or special.
However, having a name will help you distinguish it from other projects – present or future.
Overall Strategic Aim
Every change initiative has an aim.
Its most fundamental aim is its strategic objective.
How does it benefit the organization?
What is its main purpose?
Answer such questions in as few sentences as possible.
This strategic aim is the highest overview of the project’s purpose, so it does not need to be detailed.
Specific strategies can include your:
- Communications Strategy
- Digital Strategy
- Employee or Customer Experience Management Strategy
- Strategy for Managing Resistance
- Approach for Mobilizing Support
- Educational Strategy
Because these are strategic approaches, they explain the “why” instead of the “what.”
Below, you can set objectives that help you define progress towards these aims.
The overall aim can then be broken down into smaller, measurable objectives.
When defining these goals, ensure that you include key performance indicators (KPIs).
These are metrics that can be used to hold everyone accountable and show progress.
In addition to tracking progress against your goals, KPIs should also track the performance of the program itself.
Here are a few examples of change management metrics to include:
- Employee productivity
- Software implementation, in the case of digital adoption
- Speed of execution
- Learning rates
- Adherence to the program
And so on.
The activities involved can also be rather general – later on, you can create a detailed roadmap.
For instance, if you are adopting a new software application, activities would include things such as:
- Introductory Dialogues
- Pilot Program
- Pre-Rollout Training
- Post-Rollout Training
- Post-Project Evaluation
And so on.
Each activity should include descriptions and the purpose of the activity.
This approach will help you tie the activity back to the program objectives.
What resources will you need to complete your change initiative?
Resources can include:
- Physical assets, such as equipment
If necessary, you can define when and where you need these resources inside your roadmap (see below).
The roles are the people involved.
These roles can include:
- Change Managers
- Change Champions and Advocates
- Change Leaders
- Executive Sponsers
And other relevant personnel.
For each role, define that group’s:
As with the other sections in here, this type of document can help everyone stay clear on who is responsible for what.
Your roadmap is your timeline.
It should identify several things:
- Specific dates for each activity
- Roles and responsibilities of personnel during each stage
- Goals for each point along the journey
The roadmap can act as your go-to reference during the change process.
Having a such a reference can keep you focused on the big picture as well as immediate goals.
Final Thoughts and Tips
A change management handbook can be invaluable for all of the reasons covered in the first section.
It is an excellent reference, communications tool, and documentation device.
At first glance, it may seem like a lot of work.
But here is why a change management handbook will actually save you time and effort:
- It can save you time by acting as a manual for project participants
- It can prevent errors that result from poor communication
- You can reuse it as a template in future projects
As we can see, it saves time as a communications and reference tool.
Also, you can reuse it in future projects and learn from it.
Therefore, there is no reason not to create a change management handbook in your next project.
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.