Thriving After COVID-19: Change Management Tips and Tactics

Both before and after COVID-19, change management will become an increasingly essential business practice.

Digital innovation and disruption, for instance, have been gradually transforming the economy for years.

With the arrival of COVID-19, however, that change has accelerated and it will continue to drive business change for some time to come.

Below, we’ll look at a few tips and techniques that can help companies adapt to these changes and stay profitable during the post-COVID “next normal.”

How to Prosper After COVID-19: Change Management Tips and Tactics

In 2020, the novel coronavirus caused one of the largest health and financial crises that we have seen in our lifetimes. Recovering from this crisis will take time and effort.

Perhaps more importantly, however, we will be entering a new business landscape that looks very different from the pre-2020 era.

Organizational change management, therefore, will become essential for successfully implementing change – and even surviving and thriving in that era.

1. Go digital

Digitization and digital transformation are reflective of a larger technological revolution, which some have dubbed a new industrial revolution.

This technology-powered revolution, as most of us know, has fueled major changes in every area of society, impacting our daily lives, the way we conduct business, and more.

Today, digital adoption is a must for any company that wants to operate in the marketplace – but in the coming years, it will become even more crucial.

Change managers and leaders, therefore, should focus on:

  • Cultivating a digital-friendly workplace culture
  • Enhancing the organization’s digital maturity level
  • Developing a digital-first business strategy

Since the digital revolution is far from over, we can expect to see even further changes to the business landscape, which is why it is so important to keep up with and adopt emerging technology trends.

2. Modernize the culture

An organization’s culture plays an important role in every aspect of the business and can impact organizational performance, the atmosphere of the workplace, employer branding, and more.

There is no such thing as a “perfect” culture for any business. Instead, cultures should be altered to suit a company’s specific circumstances.

However, as mentioned above, digital technology is exerting an enormous influence on the modern organization. Another major influence has been COVID-19, which has fueled trends such as remote working, as well as workplace health measures.

To stay successful and adapt to these types of changes, it is often desirable to change the company culture.

A digital, data-driven culture, for instance, will readily embrace new technology, learn it more quickly, and be more successful in tomorrow’s digital economy.

Likewise, a pro-learning culture will be more willing to adopt new tools and learn new skills.

Cultural traits such as these will be far more useful for any company that wants to implement organizational changes.

3. Rethink business strategies for the next normal

The post-COVID “next normal,” as McKinsey calls it, will look far different from the years leading up to 2020.

Among other things, businesses can expect:

  • Changes to customer expectations, sentiment, and behavior
  • A more diverse, multi-generational workforce
  • More remote working
  • New expectations from employees and business partners
  • A different competitive landscape
  • A greater need for employee training

To survive and thrive in this type of business environment, companies will need to reimagine their businesses for the new world.

In some cases, this will involve major changes, such as a complete business transformation, while in others it will involve changes to the organization’s main products and services.

4. Stay agile

Agile organizations will become the leaders during the post-COVID era.

These are organizations that can:

  • React quickly and effectively to changes in the marketplace
  • Develop products and services that are customer-centered
  • Stay focused on real-world information and data, rather than preconceived ideas or plans

Agility is a mode of working that began in the software development community, but it has since spread to many other areas of business.

Agile change management, agile product development, and agile manufacturing are just a few examples.

This approach to business contrasts sharply with other, more traditional business approaches, such as the traditional waterfall model. In this approach, companies will often spend months or years developing a product, and, after the product is complete, it will be released.

Approaches such as agile, however, incorporate user testing and feedback early on, build products around that input, and improve those products incrementally, rather than all-at-once.

5. Reinvent the workplace

The workplace itself has already undergone a major transition during the early part of 2020.

Due to health concerns, for instance, companies around the globe implemented telecommuting policies and required employees to work from home.

At the same time, social distancing and other public health measures influenced the way people shop, interact, and do business.

Undoubtedly, some of these trends will remain in place, even after COVID-19 has ended.

When viewed in conjunction with the other trends covered here, such as digital transformation, it should become clear that tomorrow’s workplace will look far different.

To stay competitive and productive, therefore, change managers should work with business leaders and other stakeholders to redesign the workplace around new tools, new workflows, and new business processes.

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.