A change management procedure template can help change managers and business leaders streamline the design, development, and management of new change initiatives.
Once customized to meet one’s own needs, a template can save significant time, money, and resources – while also ensuring that the change management process follows best practices and stays on track.
In this article, we’ll look at a change management procedure template that covers the entire process of developing and managing a change initiative, starting from scratch.
Here are 10 steps to follow when developing and initiating a new organizational change initiative:
1. Define the scope and purpose
Generally, an organizational change will arise out of some need or problem. The need or problem may have been noticed by an employee, a change manager, or a business leader.
Regardless of those circumstances, that need will help define the scope and the purpose of the change project.
For example, if a manager notices that their staff is lacking the proper digital skills to be productive with new software, then the change project’s scope would be clear – find a way to improve those workers’ digital skills.
It is important, however, to clearly articulate that purpose and scope, since it will define the boundaries and the goals of the change program.
2. Obtain buy-in
It is crucial to obtain buy-in early on during the change project.
If managers can identify the need and the proposed purpose of the project, then earn sponsorship and support from a business leader, then the subsequent steps will be much easier.
3. Perform assessments and analyses
There are a number of assessments that can be useful during this stage, such as:
- Change readiness assessments
- Business impact analyses
- Risk assessments
- Gap analyses
The more in-depth the assessments, the more useful information they will provide to project planners – which will, in turn, improve the program’s chances of success.
4. Create a strategy
With the information obtained during the previous step, it will be possible to identify the most viable solutions and strategies – as well as approaches to overcoming the top barriers to change.
Naturally, the nature of the strategy will vary considerably depending on the specific need or problem being addressed, the business, the program’s budget, and so forth.
The strategy, like the project scope, should be articulated clearly, since it will act as the “north star” that guides managers, change teams, and everyone else involved.
To continue with the previous example, an organization may choose to implement a digital adoption platform (DAP) in order to accelerate employee onboarding and software training, while increasing overall software productivity.
The actual change plan will provide step-by-step details on how to achieve this.
5. Plan the project
The plan, or roadmap, will look much like any other project plan.
It should include:
- A timeline of events
- Goals and objectives for each stage
- Roles and responsibilities
Also, be sure to develop a set of metrics that are directly tied to the goals of the change project, and those goals, in turn, should be directly connected to organizational performance goals.
Those metrics will allow program managers to track, understand, and demonstrate the program’s performance.
6. Train and test
Employee training is necessary during many organizational change projects.
In fact, it is so important that many change management professionals make training a key step in their change management process.
Prosci’s ADKAR framework, for example, dedicates two steps in its five-step process to training – providing them with the knowledge they need to succeed, then ensuring that they have an opportunity to demonstrate their ability.
In short, since employees’ ability to execute the change depends so heavily on having the right skills and tools, training and testing should become a top priority.
7. Implement the plan
It is certainly important to manage the change plan, but it is equally important to lead the plan.
Effective change management will keep the plan organized, coordinated, and on track. It will also help to minimize errors, identify problems, and streamline the change project’s implementation.
Leadership, however, helps employees to drive the program forward and keep employees engaged.
A change leader should lead and motivate employees from the ground – that is, they should adopt and embody the change first and foremost. Employees, after all, will be much more likely to follow a leader who “walks the walk.”
8. Monitor and modify
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of data in change management.
Metrics should be tracked and data should be collected continually, since they can offer real-time insight into the health and performance of the program.
Any available data source should be leveraged, including employee surveys, software analytics, employee productivity data, and all other relevant data sets.
If the data warrants, then don’t be afraid to stay agile and make changes to the program.
Once the change program is complete, it may be tempting to leave it alone and move on to the next project.
However, this can be a big mistake.
If the project is abandoned as soon as it is completed, then employees can easily slide back into previous workflows and habits. In a worst case scenario, this behavior can actually undo all of the work completed thus far.
Reinforcement can prevent these problems – it can come in the form of recognition, performance reviews, accountability mechanisms, and so forth.
The post-project review should incorporate all of the data and metrics mentioned above, as well as evaluations, ongoing performance data, and feedback.
This information will be very useful for change managers, offering insight into every aspect of the plan and how each of those variables influenced the outcome.
Ideally, change managers will learn from the program’s performance and use those insights to improve their future change management efforts.