How to Make a Change Management Process (13 Steps)
You have an organizational change happening. Maybe you are switching to a new software tool or adopting a new one. Or maybe you are merging two companies.
Either way, you find you are about to make an organizational change that will have a big impact on your company. And you’re afraid it is going to pause or slow down your day-to-day operations.
So you are developing a change management process so that you can ease the pressure the change will make on your operations.
As the Head Consultant for ScreenSteps — a knowledge transfer solution that helps with change management — I’ve coached companies on how to organize their knowledge and training in order to have a smoother launch. So I know change management can be challenging.
Luckily, with the right tools and a well-thought-out change management strategy, you can and will succeed. Here are 13 steps to creating a change management plan for transformational change that will help you adopt change more efficiently in your organization.
Quick Reminder: What is change management?
A change management plan is a documented process that outlines how an organization plans to implement changes within its operations, systems, or structure while minimizing potential negative impacts on the business.
1. Identify the change
Before you begin implementing any changes, you have to start by identifying the change. Clearly define the change you want to implement, the reason for the change, and the benefits it will bring.
2. Assess the impact
How will this change impact your organization? And who will it impact?
When you have a change in your business, it impacts a wide group of people. This includes your:
⚠️ WARNING ⚠️
One common mistake is not thinking through all the roles that used your old system and your new system. Get your experts in a room and methodically brainstorm through every role and every system connected to the upcoming change.
3. Create a change management team
Assemble a team of stakeholders who will be responsible for overseeing the change management process. Your team should consist of experts who are familiar with your old system and will be leading teams involved in the change.
You’ll need someone to oversee and lead the whole project. That leader can delegate different aspects of the change management project — see the following steps for assignments — to other change management team members.
4. Determine which change management software you need
A change management tool is any tool that helps alleviate tension during a change. Here are some different software options that will help you implement your change management project:
- Change management platform
- Project management tool
- Collaboration tools
- Knowledge management tools
- Knowledge transfer tools
- Digital adoption platform
- Training tools (i.e. learning management system)
If you have an effective knowledge transfer system — like a knowledge base or knowledge management system — chances are you may not need other tools.
5. Develop a communication plan
Determine how you will communicate the change to stakeholders, including employees, customers, and suppliers. There are many communication options, such as:
- Email announcements
- Employee training sessions
- Lunch and Learns
- Notifications within your knowledge management software
What in all you include in your communication plan depends on how large the change is or how far it veers from your previous approach.
⚠️ WARNING ⚠️
Be aware of the cultural and emotional aspect of change. With a good communication plan, you provide employees an opportunity to provide feedback and express concerns so that you can address those trepidations before launching the changes.
6. Develop a training plan
Identify the training needs for employees affected by the change and develop a plan to provide necessary training.
This is often the step that falls through the cracks of a change management process. Why? You are focused on all the changes you need to make that you forget that people need to be able to adjust to the changes you’ve made.
Or you forget about it and don’t leave room in your budget for training. And then your training a lectured-based PowerPoint presentation — not a very effective training strategy.
Don’t forget to build a training program so that you can teach end-users how to perform procedures, use the new software, or handle whatever the new change is.
7. Develop a timeline
Establish a timeline for implementing the change, including key milestones and deadlines. Without deadlines and a clear timeline, it is easy to drag out your project.
Be realistic about these timelines. Often people choose a date to launch, but they didn’t account for all of the work they needed to do. Then they have to
First, determine how long each step will take. How long will it take you to research and choose change management software? How long will it take you to create your digital guides and other employee support materials? How long will it take you to create a training program? And then how long will it take you to train employees?
Once you have these numbers, it will be easier to set a more realistic timeline. On your timeline set specific checkpoints for each aspect of the change.
8. Test the change
Perform user acceptance testing. This allows you to test the change on a small scale and before implementing it fully.
During user acceptance testing, identify areas that need to be improved. Return and optimize that area of the change management process.
9. Implement the change
Now that you’ve done all of this preparatory work, it is finally time to launch the changes. Roll out the change, monitor progress, and adjust the plan as needed.
10. Evaluate the change
Don’t launch your change and never think about it again. Measure the success of the change and identify areas for improvement. Think of it as a “project post-mortem.”
Was a change successfully adopted? Did adoption fail? What areas still need improvement?
Most likely, documentation, training materials, and other resources will need to be optimized.
11. Document the change
Document the change management process and the results achieved to serve as a reference for future change management initiatives.
Remember, a change management plan should be a living document that evolves as the organization changes and grows.
12. Create a support plan
Change takes time. It is easy for employees and customers to fall back into old habits. To prevent that, you need a plan that helps the change stick.
Regularly reinforce the change. Have daily reminders, whether that is supervisors having employees find answers in your knowledge base articles, shutting down old software systems, etc.
Provide extra support as people transition into the changes. For 3-6 months post-implementation, hold office hours. That way people can come and get additional help for this new system, etc.
13. Create an accountability plan
How are you going to hold people accountable for the change? For change to stick, you need to set clear expectations. Reiterate those expectations. Evaluate employee performance against those expectations.
Execute a smooth organizational change with the right tools
Running an organizational change in your business is a big task. With the right software tools, your change management project doesn’t have to be so challenging.
A well-kept knowledge base software can help alleviate the pressure associated with organizational change. When you keep your knowledge base up to date and have employees use it on their daily tasks, they immediately can adapt to change.
With a ScreenSteps knowledge base, you can quicker document all your processes and procedures. Your guides are easily accessible. Employees can search and find the guide they need in as few as two clicks.
Plus, with ScreenSteps Find & Follow Training Framework, you can train your employees in 30 days or less. Interested in ScreenSteps? Check out our pre-recorded demos to see how the software works.
Of course, there are many knowledge base software options available. Compare some of the best knowledge base software on the market with this knowledge base comparison article.