Effective change management is a vital part of any business. Often, change management is focused on recalibrating your internal teams to meet changing customer needs.
No matter the industry or department, new processes can be fairly easy to introduce, but difficult to reinforce. But with a good process for introducing and implementing changes, you can head off adoption issues. We've used the tips below to successfully introduce change at SpringCM, and we believe they can be used by our readers to achieve similar results.
Communication is the key for any new process to succeed. Managers must take the time to explain the reason for implementing the changes. The explanation doesn’t have to be a drawn out, detailed overview—simply explain the reasons for the new changes in a way that’s clear to all employees.
At SpringCM, we hold a monthly, company-wide meeting that we call “Spring Fever.” Among other topics we cover, this is a time where we introduce and talk about company-wide changes. It’s an open forum that has helped us to demonstrate transparency and build trust.
In my experience, I’ve learned that employees want to know why the new changes are occurring especially if the old way of doing things seems to be working. Give your team a chance to ask questions or voice their concerns in a constructive manner; they’ll feel more involved with the process which contributes to the success of adopting the new process.
A new process that involves different resources may require additional training. And before the new process can be implemented, employees must be given a chance to learn new skills.
At SpringCM, we’ve found that employees who haven’t been properly trained won’t adopt the new process. It’s not for lack of trying, it’s just that we haven’t provided the proper training to help them run with our new process.
If needed, schedule training workshops to aid in the process. I can’t stress enough that failure to train properly will result in failure of the new process.
An explanation will likely not be enough for everyone to fully adopt the new process in your business. Encourage your employees throughout the process and be consistent — consistency will show your team that you’re invested in the success of the new process.
Both in the early planning stages and throughout the process change, define your measures of success. If the change you’ve introduced, for example, is a complete overhaul in the way you’re managing contracts, ask yourself what will deem this successful? It could be anything from time spent on contract initiation to signature, to compliance rate with contract terms, or hours spent on contract administration.
Collecting data before, during and after the transition is the best way to find out if the new initiative is a success. The data will allow you to view the new process outcomes against the old process.
I get it—change isn’t easy. It can be unwelcome, and change management is no easy task.
When you take the time to train and implement something new, some employees will rise to the occasion leading the way throughout the process, while others may struggle. Recognizing both can help to drive open and honest conversations, which we’ve found ultimately helps to drive change adoption.
Have you successfully led a change management project at your company?
Editor's note: This post was originally published in December 2014. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.