Change management, how to carry it out effectively?

Effective change management is key to the long-term success of your business. Here are some tips on how to do it.
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HR plays a key role in crisis management or when employees are uncertain about the organization. Unfortunately, change remains difficult to accept for many. It can provoke fear, anxiety, worry, and even the desire to resign for some. Change management is therefore a process to be taken with care. In this article, you will find our 7 tips for an efficient change management on the HR side. What are the levers of change management?

Accompanying change to avoid frustration

Even the most insignificant changes, such as new training, can cause employees to worry. That is, until they understand and feel comfortable with them. Regardless of the source of change, HR managers or HR directors (in smaller companies) are often at the forefront of facilitating communication in the workplace. As such, they are also responsible for much of the effort to implement the changes. Because change tends to amplify human emotions, managers can be quite nervous about their responsibilities in managing change with their employees. HR partners can be helpful in providing information that will help them deal with the turbulence and uncertainty in the organization. As HR, your role is to inform your employees through regular emails and/or meetings and to pass on the information.

Involve stakeholders from the beginning of the change process

Before making any firm decisions, it is ideal to involve all stakeholders in the change as well as the employees (or a group of representatives) who will be affected by the changes. To see how effective the changes are and/or how satisfied the affected employees are, you can send them an anonymous satisfaction survey within a few weeks. This will help them to give their opinion freely and to submit ideas for improvement, if they have any. This is of utmost importance in order to integrate the real needs of the users into the changes. It will also allow you to take corrective action if necessary to achieve full satisfaction of both employees and managers.

Facilitate dialogue on individual concerns

When adding the new system, employees should be invited to participate in small group conversations about the new system with you or their N+1. If many people participate, they can then clarify their concerns and influence how the training/change will be implemented.

By skipping this step, an organization exposes itself to rumors, backbiting, dissension or apathy. But as you've probably seen in your own experience, emotions and concerns that aren't openly addressed surface in many unproductive ways.

Our additional resources on communication aspects:

Implement a strategic communication plan

A strategic communications plan should include a timeline and communication topics. For example, setting up a specific web page where to publish official communications (or a Slack profile). This can also take the form of emails sent weekly, monthly or semi-annually, depending on the progress of the change implementation. It doesn't matter if your company doesn't have the resources to create a web page to include major changes. What you do need to consider is the timing, topics and appropriate distribution of your communications. If your employees are all between the ages of 18 and 25 and Whatsapp is the most used channel in your office, there's nothing stopping you from creating a Whatsapp group "HR Information: Change X" to connect directly with them. The key is to adapt to your employees. Take a step towards them and they will take a step towards you in return!

Train and support employees as developments are deployed

If the change is relatively minor, training can take the form of optional sessions, a recorded tutorial, or job aids. When the change is major and affects many people, the support strategy will need to be more involved. The previous company held a variety of mandatory sessions that were offered at different times, in person and virtually, to meet the diverse needs of a large number of employees. This change coaching is an integral part of change management. In order for the change to be understood and respected by all, you must take the time to talk about it and remind people of the rules. Otherwise, unmotivated employees will tend to apply what was done before.

In addition, the support of these developments will take shape in 3 stages:

Highlighting the benefits of change and short-term gains

When a change is implemented, it has a long way to go before it is considered a successful change. Change management is not necessarily a long, quiet river! It takes time to get used to a change. It is useful to periodically reinforce the benefits by sharing the short-term gains. How will your employees perform better in the near future? What will be the concrete changes in their daily lives? Will there be technological challenges for older employees? Being open about the challenges, as well as the suggestions and solutions, goes a long way in maintaining trust between you, the HR manager, and your colleagues, the employees. That's what keeps the change going and going.