Change management consulting involves hiring a third party, often a change management consultant, to monitor changes made within a organization. The change management consultant evaluates the likely impact of changes within the company and determines the most effective way to implement the changes. He or she might also monitor how well employees implement and adhere to the new policies, programs or practices.
An evaluation of the existing organizational atmosphere is often the first step in change management consulting. Consultants will survey the attitudes of the employees and managers toward each other, toward the company and toward impending change. They'll identify possible resistance to change and determine how the management can overcome concerns or hesitation from employees. With all of this information, consultants can plan a course for the most effective implementation of the changes.
A key part of change management consulting is helping organizations make changes without disrupting normal business operations and without straining the organization or employees. Consultants help companies align planned changes with their overall business plan and strategic plans to ensure that the changes fit their mission. They also ensure that their clients have a clear plan of how the changes will be handled at every level and in every department of the organization.
Change management consulting includes a strong human resources component, because consultants not only handle the mechanics of change, they also must determine how the changes will affect individual employees and groups of employees. Consultants work with members of the senior management, the entire staff or both in order to ensure that everyone understands and implements the changes. They also might perform leadership assessment, evaluating key employees to determine who is best equipped to take on greater roles during and after the transition. Consultants also might determine which, if any, employees should be transferred as part of the changes.
While changes are being implemented, change management consultants might survey employees to find out how they're adjusting to the change. They'll also ensure that all changes are being implemented throughout the organization and track the organization's progress. Should problems arise, the consultant can help the company respond in a way that keeps the organization on track.
Change management consulting continues even after the changes have been implemented. Consultants might stay on for a while after the changes are complete, or they might come back within a short period of time. They might then conduct follow-up surveys or evaluations to determine whether employees are still adhering to the changes, and they might help the company put together a long-term plan to monitor the changes after the consultant leaves.