What Does a Change Management Specialist Do? [FAQ]

The change management specialist is becoming a more common job role in today’s workplace.

Since continuous change has become the norm in the modern business world, business leaders have begun to recognize the need for formal change management.

Change management specialists fulfill that role by organizing and managing organizational change initiatives.

For those interested in a rewarding, in-demand career in management, this job position offers a great deal of potential.

Below, we’ll learn more about this job role, starting with the field of change management itself.

What Is Change Management?

Organizational change management is a formal management discipline dedicated to designing, coordinating, and implementing business changes.

These organizational changes can include changes to:

Change management specialists also manage large-scale business transformations, which involve several interdependent change initiatives.

Business changes such as these aren’t easy and they don’t always succeed, which is why change management is so necessary.

Good change management:

  • Improves the overall outcomes of a program
  • Decreases employee resistance
  • Enhance the employee experience and boost productivity levels
  • Lower project costs and shorten timelines

Ultimately, change management can mean the difference between success and failure in a change project.

What Does a Change Management Specialist Do?

Change managers take a structured approach to managing change that focuses on areas such as project management and people management.

Since organizational change is driven by people, change management consultancies such as Prosci advise focusing on the people side of change.

That is, change specialists help by:

  • Building an awareness of and a desire for committing to change
  • Ensuring that employees have the proper skills and tools they need to enact change
  • Establishing a bond of trust and strong two-way communication mechanisms

In addition to guiding change at the individual level, Prosci also points out that change specialists must manage the organizational side of change.

This means that change specialists must also:

  • Develop a change strategy and delegate change teams
  • Manage those change teams and coordinate with all of a project’s stakeholders
  • Outline a plan of action and take charge of implementing that plan
  • Analyze the change project’s performance and make adjustments as needed

While change management is a specialized discipline, we can see from these lists that it is also a multidisciplinary function – those interested in becoming a change specialist should therefore have a hybrid skill set that includes both hard and soft skills.

Is Change Management a Good Career Choice?

Change management would be a good career choice for those who:

  • Enjoy working with people and want a rewarding career that positively impacts organizations and their employees
  • Are not afraid to take on high levels of responsibility
  • Can build relationships with stakeholders at all levels of the organization, from frontline employees to senior-level executives
  • Are willing to dedicate themselves fully to this profession
  • Have project management skills and data skills

Also, it is important to note that in today’s digital-first economy, change specialists should be digitally savvy.

The workplace, after all, will continue to undergo digitization for some time to come.

In the workplace of the future, the most successful employees will be those who can work in a digital environment. And since change managers are piloting digital transformation programs, they must be fully capable, willing, and ready to drive those digital-first initiatives.

Who Hires Change Management Specialists?

Change management jobs are available in a wide variety of industries, though they are often employed in larger organizations. Businesses with only a small number of employees often find difficulty justifying an investment in change management.

As organizations scale, however, the benefits of change management far outweigh the costs, and change specialists can find opportunities in a number of scenarios.

For instance:

  • Organizations undertaking a major business transformation may hire change management consultants as independent contractors
  • Change management consultancies often hire change managers to perform consulting work
  • Change managers may also perform training and education, through educational institutions, change management companies, on-site classes, and so forth
  • Large enterprises who regularly undergo change will have a dedicated change management department that is operated by change specialists

Whether one wants to work as an employee or an independent consultant, there are clearly plenty of opportunities available for those truly interested in pursuing this career.

How Do You Become a Change Specialist?

As with any other career, becoming a change specialist takes dedication, hard work, and time.

Those wanting to learn more about this career can investigate:

  • Change management certifications, which offer training to either experienced or inexperienced change practitioners
  • Change management frameworks, or change models, which outline step-by-step methodologies for implementing organizational change
  • Common tasks that change specialists work on, such as employee training
  • Leading change management blogs, publications, and resources

If change management looks promising as a career path, then it would be worthwhile to look for jobs that can act as gateways into change management, such as HR.

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.