Many leaders have plans to change something within their business or organization this year. It could be a change in staff, technology, or even rebranding. In fact, 73% of organizations expect the need for change management to increase from 2020 to 2024. While we know that change is an important part of business, it is not always easy for everyone.
The Harvard Business Review suggests that 60-70% of all the change initiatives undertaken in organizations fail. This should worry every entrepreneur, business owner, and leader. One of the reasons why change management fails is due to the lack of clear business goals of change management. Understanding how the approach can help will assist leaders in making their organization change a success. In this article, we will look at some of the most important goals of change management.
Importance of Change Management
Change management refers to the approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. It is a process designed to help manage the impact of new business processes. It can also apply to changes in organizational structure or even cultural changes within the business.
The importance of change management cannot be overstated. It ensures that changes are implemented smoothly and successfully to achieve lasting benefits. By effectively managing change, organizations can reduce the risk of failure, minimize employee resistance, and increase engagement and productivity.
For example, a company may decide to implement a new technology system. This could be an online change that will alter the way customers buy from them and how employees serve customers. Change management can help to ensure that all employees are adequately trained to use the new system. It can also help them understand the benefits it brings and are supported throughout the transition.
Also, effective change management can lead to higher employee morale and job satisfaction, as employees feel supported and valued during periods of change. For instance, if a company undergoes a restructuring that changes job roles, a well-planned change management process can help employees understand their new roles and how they contribute to the organization’s goals. Hopefully, this will lower the anxiety and stress involved in the change.
Now let’s take a look at some key goals to focus on during the change management process.
Also read: 7 Rules of Change Management
1. Ensure Changes Achieve Desired Business Outcomes
The ultimate aim of any change management process is to ensure that the changes implemented achieve the desired business outcomes. This means that the changes should align with the organization’s strategic objectives and contribute to its overall success.
Since different businesses have different goals, each organization will need to be clear what is the cause of the change and what they hope to achieve. While specific outcomes are different, the goals in change management are usually similar. Here are some examples of business outcomes that would require a company to implement some change management strategies.
- Change in leadership
- Launching of new products
- Company acquisitions and mergers
- New technology implementation
- Reaching new markets
2. Employee Engagement and Buy-in
One of the primary goals of change management is to get employees to engage and to get them to buy-in. This is crucial because successful change hinges on the people who will implement and work within the new system. Achieving this goal involves understanding the concerns and perspectives of employees. From there, leaders can address those concerns better.
When employees are engaged in the change process, they are more likely to support and contribute positively to the initiative. To facilitate this, organizations should create channels for open communication. Also, leaders should allow employees to express their views and concerns.
There are many reasons why employees resist change. However, leaders cannot help them overcome those reasons if they do not know what they are. This can involve workshops, surveys, or town hall meetings. Employees who feel their voices are heard and their roles are valued are more likely to embrace and drive change, turning them from passive recipients into active proponents.
3. Minimizing Resistance
Resistance to change is a natural human response. Managing this resistance is a critical goal of change management. This goal involves identifying potential sources of resistance and developing strategies to address them. Resistance can stem from a lack of understanding, fear of the unknown, or discomfort with new ways of working.
Change managers must anticipate these reactions and work proactively to mitigate them. This can be achieved through clear and consistent communication about the change. It is not enough to communicate the change, you must also explain the “whys” behind the change. This needs to be done while providing reassurances and demonstrating the benefits of the change.
Training and support during the transition phase also play a vital role in reducing resistance. By acknowledging and addressing the concerns of those who are resistant, change managers can smooth the path for transformation and ensure a more cohesive transition.
4. Minimize the Negative Impact of Changes for the Business
Change, even when beneficial in the long term, can cause short-term disruptions. Because of this, one of the goals to shoot for is to minimize the negative impact of change. Effective change management seeks to mitigate these disruptions to ensure business continuity.
Doing this involves careful planning and phased implementation. Ideally, a smooth transition with minimal impact on day-to-day operations will be achieved if everything goes well. Risk assessment and contingency planning are also essential components of this goal.
By identifying potential pitfalls and planning for them, change managers can reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes. They will also be able to ensure that the business remains stable and functional throughout the change process.
5. Update Best Practices and Eliminate Outdated Practices
For many customers and potential clients, dealing with businesses that are unable to update operational and sales practices can be frustrating. Because of this, updating best practices and eliminating outdated ones is a key goal of change management. What was once considered best practice can become obsolete before an organization realizes it. Change management aims to identify these outdated practices and replace them with more efficient, effective, and relevant ones. By some estimates, 79.7% of people need to adapt their business every two to five years.
This requires a thorough understanding of current industry standards and trends. When setting this goal, leaders need to really dig into data and observe the competition to see what direction they want to take in their business. Updating practices also requires an awareness of emerging technologies and methodologies. Implementing updated best practices enhances efficiency, improves competitiveness, and often leads to cost savings.
Equally important is the elimination of outdated practices. Old practices that no longer serve a purpose can hinder productivity and growth. This aspect of change management ensures that the organization remains dynamic and adaptable.
6. Maintain Productivity
Maintaining productivity during times of change is a critical goal. Change can be very disruptive. This disruption can spread throughout the organization and even to customers. As a result, it’s essential to ensure that it does not negatively impact the productivity of the organization.
Maintaining productivity means that leaders are making sure that employees are ready to continue doing their work effectively. Entrepreneurs and leaders need to be sure that team members have the resources they need. Also, staff will need additional training and support. If they don’t have this, they may not be able to adapt to the new changes quickly.
Communication plays a vital role here. Well-informed employees are more likely to understand the need for change and how to navigate it effectively.
By minimizing confusion and uncertainty, employees can remain focused and maintain their performance levels. A big win would be for an organization to initiate change throughout the organization while still meeting its operational goals.
7. Alignment with Organizational Goals
Aligning change initiatives with the broader organizational goals is fundamental to the success of any change management effort. This alignment ensures that the changes contribute positively to the overall direction and objectives of the organization. It involves understanding the strategic vision of the organization and ensuring that the changes are designed to support this vision.
This alignment helps in prioritizing change initiatives. Once things are prioritized, resources can be effectively allocated. From there, measuring the success of the change in terms of its contribution to the organization’s goals becomes easier.
Employees should be able to see how change initiatives align with and support the organization’s goals. Those in charge should also make sure that employee goals are aligned with company goals. Doing this will help limit employees’ resistance to change. Also, they are more likely to understand the importance of the change and contribute positively towards its success.
This strategic alignment ensures that change management efforts are not just tactical responses to immediate needs but are part of a cohesive strategy to drive the organization forward.
With change management, leaders should seek to implement strategies for effecting change. They should also want to control the change while helping people to adapt to it. This involves managing the transition from old ways of working to new ones and ensuring that these new methods and practices are effectively and sustainably implemented. It doesn’t happen instantly, but if leaders are consistent and determined, they should be able to create smoother transitions.