In the digital age, many change managers want to know how to successfully manage change.
This is an important topic, because change management is changing.
Today, change management has evolved to include:
- Data and analytics
- Advanced technology solutions, such as digital adoption platforms
- New change management practices and models
Among other things.
Tackling change in today’s economy can be complicated and difficult.
However, it is possible.
The steps outlined below represent an easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach.
How to Successfully Manage Change in the Digital Age
Below are 7 steps you can follow to initiate, manage, and implement change in today’s digitizing workplace.
1. Assess Digital Maturity
The first step is assessing digital maturity.
That is, evaluate your organization’s digital capabilities:
- Infrastructure, software, and capacities
- Digital skill levels across departments
- Business practices and workflows
This analysis can tell you where you stand currently and where you need to be.
Assessing your organization’s digital maturity level – as well as change readiness – is an essential stage.
It will help you succeed when you design a blueprint for change.
2. Design a Blueprint
A blueprint for change is your plan of action.
Base it on the assessments you created earlier.
With those assessments, you can:
- Choose appropriate technology solutions
- Know how to design training programs
- Create a plan for evolving your culture and work practices
A digital transformation program based on these guidelines will include:
A roadmap like this is essential for any change project … and is a prerequisite for the next step.
3. Build the Change System
Your change system should be based on the goals and milestones mentioned above.
It should include:
- Mechanisms for building awareness and desire for change
- Tracking change metrics and analyzing data
- Two-way communication mechanisms with employees
- Accountability systems
Your system – or framework – will guide your change project throughout its life cycle.
4. Train Your Workers
Employee training is a core element of any digital change program.
The reason is simple: employees need digital skills to be productive.
And the sooner you begin training, the better. In fact, if you start training before your program
Any new digital adoption program, for instance, involves new software, platforms, or tools.
How well employees learn those tools impacts:
- Engagement levels
And, ultimately, your change project’s results.
5. Fire Up the Digital Change Engine
After you design processes, build your systems, and train workers, it’s time to execute.
Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Communicate your change plan beforehand. Offering a top-down perspective means explaining the why as well as the what. Employees react better to change when they understand the reasons for the change.
- Initiate the program and engage employees. Engagement is crucial – change management exercises and social activities can help you start things off with energy.
- Build momentum. During the first few weeks and months, celebrate short-term wins through recognition, rewards, and praise. This helps employees stay committed.
As your change project moves forward, you will certainly come across obstacles to change.
That’s why you will need to…
6. Adjust Your Course
Consistently monitor analytics and identify problem areas.
The ability to adapt is essential during any change project … so don’t be afraid to change your own project if necessary.
Here are a few key characteristics of modern change programs:
- Flexibility – A flexible program takes new developments into account, then reacts accordingly
- Speed – Quick reaction times are essential in today’s fast-paced market
- Innovation – Creative, innovative approaches should be embraced
- Democracy – Be open to ideas from anyone involved … and if it’s an improvement, test it out
As you move forward, continue to collect data and monitor progress.
7. Wrap Up
After your change project is complete, there are still a few things to take care of:
- Post-Change Training – There are a few reasons why training is so important: different people learn at different rates, repetition is a normal part of teaching, and daily work can interfere with change projects, for instance.
- Collect Feedback – Feedback from employees will tell you how they perceived the project. Naturally, self-reported feedback should be taken with a grain of salt. However, when it comes to employee engagement, perception has a direct impact.
- Review – After the project is complete, evaluate the results. Incorporate engagement data, project metrics, KPIs, employee feedback, and project outcomes. All of this can be used for future study and improvement.
Finally, meet with stakeholders to have open discussions about the project. Answer lingering questions and address any issues they may have.
Anyone who wants to know how to successfully manage change can follow this general outline.
For best results, though, study up on:
- Change management models
- Digital transformation topics, such as digital adoption
- Modern business models, such as agile and lean
The more modern your approach to change management, the better your outcomes will be – and the better your future outlook.
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.