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Why Organizational Change Management is All About People

By Bryan Wooten 10.25.22
Reading time: 4 minutes

Everyone tends to react differently when they hear that changes are happening in their organization. It could be a relief that a more efficient way of doing tasks is coming soon. Or it could be a roll of the eyes that yet another change is happening with doubt that it will improve processes.

In the workplace, individuals embracing and adopting the change are the bridge between a quality solution and benefits realization. Change management is the thoughtful framework of processes and tools to manage the people side of change from the current state to the future state, with the ultimate goal of achieving the desired results of the change.

Getting many individuals to change at once will ultimately accomplish the goal that the change set out to achieve. But it can often be a long road from the starting line of instituting a change and successfully managing that change to the finish line.

Changes in technology are a familiar blocker at many companies, and the consequences of resistance to change can impact the business and hold it back from improving performance. At Silverline, we work with many clients requiring organizational change management when implementing Salesforce. They are dealing with a new system and are often challenged by user adoption. 

Here we provide organizational change factors to consider for overcoming challenges with change. 

We change for a reason

As simple as it sounds, an underlying principle for managing change is envisioning a future state and having each individual understand that they are changing to that future state to achieve the desired outcome. Providing a clear picture of the reason a change is occurring is instrumental in building awareness and understanding of why change is needed. 

The process should demonstrate how and why the change will benefit the organization and the individual. It should visually explain and show ways the change will drive revenue growth, improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, provide a better quality product or service, decrease risk exposure, and so on. 

Bringing awareness to the change should begin at a high level with executive leadership. The executives should be on board with the change, truly believe in it, and be able to communicate it clearly. The marketing or communications team can support the executive messaging by highlighting the key points that employees need to know and providing training if necessary.

An organizational change requires individual change 

Individual shifts in behavior are the cornerstone of change. Each stakeholder plays a part in adopting the change and moving individuals to use the new solution consistently. When numerous individual shifts are taken together as a whole, the organization’s desired future state is achieved. A successful organizational change will be realized only with everyone playing their part and embracing the future state. 

But what about the naysayers? There will always be individuals that are working against the change. They’re happy with what they’re doing now and don’t see why they need to make the change. When individuals are resistant to change, they must be helped along to understand why change needs to be made and why they individually need to adopt the change. Try outlining the concerns in a one-on-one conversation if the individual doesn’t follow the change and develop a reinforcement plan if required. 

Change champions are another helpful resource. These team members, not executives, are your cheerleaders for making the change. Champions are trusted colleagues that those unsure about the change can approach to help them understand the changes, walk them through the benefits, and answer any questions.

Using an enabling framework for managing the people side of change

Change management is all about engaging the passion and energy of employees around a common and shared vision so that the change becomes an integral part of their work and behavior. Enable individuals to adopt new values, skills, and behaviors with a solid framework to follow to get their buy-in to make the change.  

At Silverline, we like the ADKAR model for a framework that ensures individuals are aware of the change and have the resources to navigate a business process change successfully. By asking the following questions, leaders can gauge their workforce’s ability to make a change a success.

  • Awareness: Do you understand and agree with the business reasons for making this change?
  • Desire: Do you want to make this change happen or would you prefer to keep things the way they are now? What would cause you to want this change to happen?
  • Knowledge: Do you know how to change and have the required skills to support the change?
  • Ability: Are you capable of performing these new skills?
  • Reinforcement: Are you receiving the necessary support and reinforcement to sustain this change?

Measuring the success of change management

Change management is only effective when you provide the processes and tools for individual change management. Unlike project management, which a trained project manager executes, change management is brought about by the execution of many players in an organization, from top-level executives to front-line managers.  

When we measure the success of a change, it can be measured by the degree to which individuals understand and adopt the change. At this point, the objectives of the change are realized.  

Employee surveys are a useful way to measure the degree to which individuals understand the change. For example, if you provide training, ask survey questions about whether the individual understood the training and what is being asked of them. Provide extra guidance about the change if your survey results are unfavorable.  

When switching to a new technology like Salesforce, a helpful measurement resource is to use Salesforce’s dashboards and reporting. Look at the metrics on who in your organization is adopting change. See who uses new Salesforce features or processes and how much they use them. Identify who is struggling or lagging due to resistance to change.

How Silverline can help

Silverline creates rewarding experiences for our team, our clients, and the world we live in, and a significant part of those experiences is governed by change management. Change management is all about the people side of change, and providing individuals with a well-thought-out framework is key to any successful organizational change.

It takes more than technical expertise to power digital transformation; it takes the right combination of people, processes, consulting, and change management. Silverline can guide you through every phase of your journey, from strategic planning to implementation and ongoing support. Find out how we can help your organization manage the organizational changes on your digital transformation journey.

Ready to see real results? We can help.

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