Why We Should Rethink Organizational Change Management for the Next Decade

There are many reasons why we should rethink organizational change management.

Perhaps the most important is digital technology.

Digital disruption trends are impacting:

  • Business processes and practices
  • Products, services, and revenue models
  • The way we work, live, and communicate

In light of these massive, widespread trends, we shouldn’t be surprised that change management is also changing.

Is Change Management Still About People?

Yes.

However, digital technology has change the business landscape to an extraordinary degree.

Today, we need to renovate business processes in every area, including change management.

Experienced change managers may worry about the implications of this…

But change management isn’t going away.

Like many other business practices, it’s just changing.

Below, we’ll examine a 4-pillar approach for rethinking and renovating organizational change management.

How to Rethink Organizational Change Management

Organizational change management is – and probably always will be – human-centered. 

Rethinking change management won’t change the central principles of change management.

Change managers certainly won’t be replaced by AI-fueled robotic managers.

Not any time soon at least…

However, we do need to augment our efforts with digital technology – significantly.

Below, we’ll explore a four-point strategy to do that. And we’ll also look at the benefits offered by each approach.

Data-Driven Digital Change

Data is perhaps the most important driver of business results today.

In every area and function of business, we can see examples of data-driven improvements:

  • Metrics offer insight into processes, helping us to identify weak points and areas of opportunity
  • AI-driven data analysis automatically develops models for us, dramatically improving process results and cutting costs
  • Data visualization helps us immediately grasp those insights and communicate them to others

In change management, there are many ways to apply data technology:

  • Metrics – Change management metrics, such as employee engagement rates, can be used to gauge the health of your program. 
  • Reporting – Reporting is one of the most essential features offered by data technology. It allows you to collect, compile, and formulate the output of data sets.
  • Analysis – Analyzing project metrics helps us gain insight into a program’s strengths and weaknesses. We can also learn what areas need improvement.
  • Predictive Modeling – Predictive modeling can project the potential success or failure of a program based on different inputs. 
  • Intelligence – Business intelligence and competitive intelligence can both help you understand the market, your own company, and what changes need to be made.

These are a few of the core ways you can fuel success with data technology.

But digital solutions include more than just data tools.

Automate and Augment

Change management that makes use of digital tools and software will get better results across the board.

Here are a few examples:

  • Project Management Software – Project management tools streamline your workflow, making communication, goal management, and task management much easier.
  • Business Process Automation – Automation tools let you turn over tedious tasks to machines. This cuts costs and frees up worker time for more productive activities.
  • HR Software – HR platforms come with a wide variety of management tools that prove useful in change projects. These include survey tools, online question-and-answer portals, time management and tracking, to name a few.
  • ITSM Platforms – IT Services Management use ITIL and similar frameworks to manage IT service changes. These are must-haves, especially for larger organizations.
  • Digital Adoption PlatformsDigital adoption solutions streamline onboarding and training for employees, customers, and users. This improves user engagement and reduces learning time.

There are other tools that can help you streamline your change management workflow. 

For more specific recommendations, check out some of our articles on change management software.

Training, Reskilling, and Upskilling

On the one hand, digital technology enables workers to learn faster, work smarter, and get better results.

However, the flipside is that digital technology has a learning curve.

The digital revolution threatens low-skilled workers in particular, which has caused many people to become concerned.

However, in this case, digital technology comes to its own rescue.

The right digital strategy can close the digital skills gap and offer net-positive returns on training.

Here are a few examples:

  • Digital adoption platforms, mentioned above, offer in-app tutorials and guidance that outperform traditional training methods.
  • Learning management systems help companies manage educational content, interact with students, manage attendance, and more.
  • Online information repositories, such as wikis or knowledge bases, allow users to quickly find the information they need.

The right mixture of training methods can help companies close the skills gap and stay ahead of the technology curve.

Machine-Powered, Human-Driven

All of these digital tools are meant to augment human capability, not replace it.

Change management should be approached with a new lens – but not overhauled entirely.

Change professionals should still:

  • Use change management frameworks to strategize, define goals, and design roadmaps
  • Develop comprehensive communication strategies to obtain support and reduce employee resistance
  • Create a vision for change, then embody and personally lead that change

In short, change management should still put people first.

The most successful change managers will be those that combine technology with existing, established change practices.

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.