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How to develop a change management plan

How to develop a change management plan

When change occurs in your business, it often takes your staff some time to adjust. Here are some processes you can put in place to help bring everyone along on your growth journey.



Identify the type of change needed

Experienced business owners embrace change. Continuously improving your products and skills is often the best way to improve performance and grow the business. Sometimes change is made necessary by circumstances such as technology updates, loss of key staff or new competition.

Your first step is to determine exactly where and why the change is required. Sit down and list the problems, risks and inefficiencies that are affecting growth, so that you can target the right area of the business – whether it’s leadership, customer service or employee skills.

Identify your communication needs

Let’s face it: many – if not most – employees prefer to work with clear, achievable objectives. If not managed well, organisational change can throw this into disarray, leading to staff resistance and loss of morale. A cost-benefit analysis can help support your argument for change. You should also be able to show that you have considered alternative options.

We tend to be more accepting of change when we actively participate in it, so try to get employees involved in the process as early as possible. This might involve holding information sessions, providing regular updates in the staff newsletter or putting a chart together that explains your key objectives and milestones.

Wherever possible, arrange briefings and conversations with staff to get their input – making it clear which aspects of the change are open to negotiation, and which are not. If you set realistic expectations, and explain why some suggestions couldn’t be implemented, you will come across as a more open and honest communicator.

If the change involves job or responsibility loss, emotions can run high, and it may be a good idea to offer counselling to those affected.

Monitor and review the plan

Your change management plan should clearly state the desired outcomes of the change process. These might include improved customer satisfaction, greater market share or higher worker productivity. Identify them early so that you are tracking your progress against the right performance measures.

And don’t forget to celebrate a successful milestone on your change roadmap. If you acknowledge the contributions of your employees, and find ways to reward them for their hard work and loyalty, they are more likely to accept change as an integral part of your workplace culture.

Your employees are more likely to accept change if you've been upfront with them in the past and they know they can trust you. Learn how to keep communication flowing in your business.

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