A change management program is a structured system companies use to adjust or alter their operations. Companies can undergo change for a number of reasons, driven by forces internal and external to the company. Using a program allows a company to approach change with a previously successful process. This can alleviate any ear or resistance associated to the change management process. Most companies will have change management programs built around their operations, although a few standard principles exist in all systems.
When developing a change management system, companies must decide the type of change needing to take place. For example, changes may be strategic, technological, or structural, or they may center on employee behavior and attitudes. Strategic change focuses on an organizational wide shift. This may result in a change in production operations or goods and services produced, adjustments to the number of competitors in the economic market or the result of changes in a country’s fiscal or monetary policies. Technological is the use or upgrade of computer-based systems in the company. Structural changes are internal, focusing on the responsibilities of individual inside the company and how individuals report to the company’s management team. Employee behavior can be setting a code of conduct or ethics, training workers how to handle customer service complaints or a number of other situations that may arise in the business environment.
A change management program needs to have an individual or team running the system. Companies may decide to select an individual from current management or select a team from the company’s operations. While a single individual creates a centralized change management program, this setup can also be seen as dictatorial, which may result in resistance from employee who dislike the change process. A team-oriented change management program allows the company to benefit from multiple individuals who can have insight on the change process. Employees may also have more rapport with a particular member of the change management team, creating a more unified process.
Outsourcing the change management position is also a possibility. This creates an independent person or team for the change management program, allowing less resistance in the company. While external individuals are not often privy to the company’s entire operations, they will bring more knowledge to the process and help overcome any obstacles.
Creating a plan and setting goals or objectives is also an important part of developing a change management program. The company’s management team must have a clear vision for the change so they can pass this on to the employees. Setting short-term goals that are easily accomplished can make the process more palatable, as employees will begin to the purpose in the change and hopefully get on board with the remaining process.