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4 Steps to Effective Change Management for HR

_Reprinted from

No matter the size of the organization, change is one of life’s


in today’s business environment.

With all that change going on, everyone must be an expert on managing

change effectively — right?


Most changes in organizations fail, due in part to employee resistance,

failure to adequately prepare and miscommunication. Research shows that

change initiatives are nearly twice as likely to


as a result of organizational resistance rather than technical or

operational issues.

Needed: a systemic, proactive approach

If change is not implemented correctly, the results can range from

inconvenient to disastrous, such as inefficiencies, duplicated efforts,

and lost business opportunities.

Companies that are able to manage change


can gain distinct advantages over their competition that can lead to

even greater success. When done right, change management can alleviate

uncertainty among employees about how the change might impact them,

reduce the potential for a negative impact on productivity, and engage

or re-engage the company’s workforce.

Companies who want to successfully lead employees through adoption of an

organizational change must follow a systematic, proactive approach that

incorporates four primary steps: overcoming resistance, engaging

employees, implementing change in phases and communicating the change.

1. Overcoming resistance

Although employee resistance is a natural reaction to widespread

organizational changes, you can overcome that resistance by focusing on

several key strategies:

* Clearly and consistently communicate about the change well in

advance of its implementation.

* Help employees better understand the need for the change and the

rationale behind the decisions, as well as the ways the change may

affect them.

* Ensure that your change management team includes change champions

who can help spread positive messages about the change, as well as take

the temperature of employee reactions to the change.

* Provide strong support for the changing environment, such as

ensuring that managers are provided with the training and information

they need to answer employee questions.

2. Engaging employees

Employees who are engaged in the change are more likely to put in the

effort necessary to help implement the change and ensure a positive

outcome for the organization. Help create high levels of employee

engagement during your change process by:

* Developing a team approach that includes employees’ perspectives

from a variety of departments and levels.

* Assigning and clarifying roles and responsibilities.

* Increasing your focus on the workers who are affected most by the


* Including resistance leaders in the change process to help

overcome pushback from other employees.

* Understanding and taking into account the different motivational

factors for each employee.

3. Implementing change in phases

For companies planning a major change initiative, taking a phased

approach can help ensure that the transition to a new system or process

is as smooth and seamless as possible. Leading change management firm

Prosci recommends three phases:

* Prepare for change – By taking steps such as defining your change

management strategy, developing your change management team, and

outlining key roles.

* Manage the change – By creating and executing change management

plans that include communications, operations and resistance management.

* Reinforce the change – By collecting and analyzing feedback and

then implementing corrective actions where needed.

4. Communicating change

Failing to tell employees in advance about organizational changes can

increase employee misconduct by 42


An integral part of every stage of the change management process,

communication must be a two-way street in order to ensure the success of

the organizational change.

Think quality over quantity when it comes to communicating with

employees, and consider these communication strategies for successful


* Pre-and post-surveys allow for feedback both before and after the

change has been implemented, which can enhance the overall process.

* Engage resistors in one-on-one sessions prior to the solution’s

implementation to allow them to provide their input.

* Be clear, consistent and explicit, especially when it comes to

timeline and responsibilities.

* Use both formal and informal communication approaches, including

email, intranet, in-person meetings, signage and voice mails.

* Offer opportunities for employees to provide feedback into the

process, and then be sure to use the input to inform the plan.

* Gather employees to explore worst-case scenarios and then develop

strategies to address them.

Building a foundation for success

Although implementing organizational change is complicated and complex,

it does not have to negatively affect your company’s performance.

You can minimize the disruption to your organization by beginning the

planning and communication process early to build the foundation for a

successful implementation.

by Stacey M. Browning, Executive

Vice President, Paycor