In this article, we’ll learn about change management jobs, change management job descriptions, and what employers expect from change managers.
Anyone interested in a career as a change manager, after all, must start by learning these basics.
What Change Managers Do – A 30-Second Crash Course
Change managers are management professionals who design, coordinate, and manage organizational changes.
Organizational changes and transformations are business initiatives that fundamentally alter some area of the business.
These changes can include everything from organizational restructuring to business process changes to digital transformation.
Organizational changes are challenging, however, and not all initiatives succeed.
A skilled and experienced change manager can improve the outcomes of a change program, overcome barriers to change, improve the employee experience, and more.
Understanding these key facts can help prospective change managers better understand what employers are looking for – and that knowledge, in turn, can improve the chances of success when applying and interviewing for a change management job.
Change Manager Job Titles
Another important point to note is that change management jobs often go by different titles.
Here are a few examples:
- Change manager
- Change management consultant
- Change management specialist
- Change management analyst
- Organizational change manager
For the most part, “change management” and “organizational change” are the most common key phrases to look for.
Yet it is also worth pointing out an important key difference between organizational change management and change management in the IT field.
In an IT context, change management can refer to IT services management or software release maangement, not business transformation. If job descriptions fall under the IT department or refer to standards such as ITIL, then the role is geared towards IT specialists, not organizational change managers.
Change Manager Job Description and Responsibilities
Organizational change managers, as mentioned above, implement and manage organizational change projects. In many cases, these managers should possess a combination of both hard and soft skills.
Job descriptions will often include responsibilities such as:
- Assessing and analyzing change impacts
- Risk assessment and management
- Change readiness assessment
- Designing employee onboarding and training programs
- Mapping and developing new business processes and standards
- Managing the people side of organizational change management
- Leading change initiatives
- Developing organizational change strategies, goals, plans, and metrics
- Identify and maintain key relationships with stakeholders
- Develop and maintain a change management communication strategy
Naturally, the needs and responsibilities will vary from organization to organization, but the underlying role will remain the same.
Experience and education requirements commonly include:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A minimum of several years’ experience working in change management
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Strong project management skills
- Experience designing communication, onboarding, and training plans
- Analytical and critical thinking skills
As with the job responsibilities, the requirements will vary from role to role – lower level change management positions will have fewer responsibilities and requirements than senior-level jobs.
How to Become a Change Manager
Change managers, as we have seen, often need to have a track record of successful change management, as well as a set of both hard and soft skills.
Becoming a change manager requires dedication and hard work, but this career can be both rewarding and profitable.
Here are a few tips that can help those who are interested in pursuing a career in change management:
- Get a relevant bachelor’s degree or higher. Not all change management roles have specific requirements as to the type of degree required. However, the more relevant the degree is to change management, the better. Relevant degrees can include business degrees, communication, organizational development, and so forth.
- Obtain a change management certification. Another way to demonstrate knowledge and dedication to change management is by getting a change management certification. These certifications provide specialized, advanced knowledge on how to manage and implement change programs. They are offered by change management consultancies, private educational institutions, and institutions of higher education.
- Find work in HR or another management role. Human resources professionals are closely involved with the workforce and workforce-related development initiatives, such as employee training. Both of these are closely linked to change management, and, as a result, HR professionals can become involved with organizational change more easily.
- Gain experience in project management. Project management is another important skill to have as a change manager. After all, every organizational change initiative is a project – or even several interdependent projects.
- Cultivate soft skills. All managers must have soft skills, such as communication skills, negotiation skills, and people skills. This is especially true for change managers, who must interact with a wide range of stakeholders, from frontline employees to C-level executives.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for becoming a change manager, and prospective applicants can approach the career from several different directions.
The best way to entering this career track is the same as any other job: make this job one’s primary career goal, then gain necessary experience and persistently pursue that goal.
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.