What Are the Main Organizational Change Roles?

There are a number of organizational change roles that assist with project management and execution.

Below, we’ll discuss them in detail.

But first, let’s start with the factors that impact these roles.

Organizational Change Roles: An Overview

Organizational change roles may vary depending on a few factors.

For instance:

  • The size of the organization – Smaller organizations may require the same person to take on multiple roles. A larger enterprise, on the other hand, may have dedicated teams for each function.
  • The scale of the project – Small projects will require fewer personnel than larger projects, which will affect who is involved.
  • The type of the project – A software adoption project will involve different people and roles than a merger, for instance.

However, in a properly structured organizational change program, there will be a few essential roles.

Change Team

The change team implements the change project itself.

It consists of technicians, employees, and those who actually put the plan in action. After all, without technical implementation, management will do no good.

They:

  • Execute and manage the project at the ground level. They handle the actual design and implementation of the change project.
  • Coordinate with the change management team. They communicate with the project managers, ensure their teams can meet project deadlines, and ensure that their efforts stay in sync with the change project.
  • Manage the technical aspects of the project. These include administrative details, resource allocation, budget allocation, scheduling, and more.

In short, they execute the change project.

Support Team

In many cases, a change project requires specialized expertise and resources.

For instance, a digital adoption program may require specialized software and digital adoption solutions

In terms of personnel, change projects may require trainers, subject matter experts, and so forth.

Support teams:

  • Offer guidance and knowledge. Expert knowledge can help projects avoid pitfalls and produce better results.
  • Assist with project planning and implementation. Change project planning can depend on the knowledge of specialists. 
  • Provide tools, techniques, and tactics. Organizational changes often hinge upon specialized technologies, change management tools, or subject matter expertise. Support teams can provide this.

The support team and the change team work under the core management team, covered next.

Change Management Team

The change management group lies at the center of the change project.

Their job is to:

  • Manage the project, people, and resources. They allocate, administer, and adjust project resources, including financial capital, human capital, and time resources. 
  • Design a strategy and roadmap. The change team coordinates resources with others throughout the organization to create a change strategy and plan of action.
  • Handle day-to-day operations of change management. From communication to advising, change management teams act as the hub for change projects.

Though change managers coordinate the efforts of the previous two teams, they require guidance and support from above.

Business Leadership

The first group that offers this guidance and support is business leadership. 

Executives and upper management help in a few ways:

  • Act as sponsors. Without a budget, change projects cannot succeed. Executive sponsorship has been named as one of the most important contributors to success by some studies.
  • Lead change programs. When executives or business leaders initiate a program, they should also champion and lead the change. This means offering visible, vocal support and communicating directly with employees.
  • Enable and facilitate project success. Executive support can come in various forms, from visible participation to financial support. 

Ultimately, the support of executives can mean the difference between success or failure.

Managers

Managers are critical players in any change initiative.

They help change projects by:

  • Actively supporting a project within their purview. The ongoing, day-to-day support helps improve employee awareness and engagement.
  • Coordinating with the other change project teams. Ongoing communication ensures the managers’ departments remain synchronized with the rest of the project.
  • Putting on different hats as needed to close the gap between their team and the change project. They can act in different roles as required – liaisons, coaches, change champions, and more.
  • Identifying and managing resistance. Employee resistance is a common roadblock during change projects, and managers are in a position to spot and mitigate it.

Managers, in summary, act as the bridge between their department and the other groups within a change initiative.

It is important that they proactively “embody” change. 

By acting as visible champions of change within their departments, they can help propel change forward, while reducing resistance.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, not all change teams are created equal.

In change programs at the enterprise level, teams should be divided up into these organizational change roles. Smaller organizations may need to distribute responsibility among fewer people.

Regardless, the responsibilities outlined here can offer guidance during project planning and execution.

Remember – if responsibilities aren’t assigned at the outset, it is unlikely that people will take them up voluntarily.

For this reason, it’s imperative to divide and assign them early on.

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.