5 Steps to an Effective Change Management Process

Enacting organizational change is never simple, especially in industries like insurance, which often rely on a variety of “tried-and-true” tools and methods. In spite of this, change is necessary for any company that wants to stay relevant and competitive. Rather than resisting change or forging ahead without the correct tools, having a clear, multi-step plan is essential to the effective implementation of the change management process. 

Understanding the Change Management Process

At its core, the change management process is all about improving efficiency. While each organization is unique, change is typically driven by two factors: addressing existing internal inefficiencies and adapting to external changes. 

Markets, customer needs, and technologies are constantly evolving. Companies that recognize and adapt to these shifts can ride the wave of change, while those that do not can be swept away. In each industry, leaders forge ahead and integrate new ideas and technologies into their business processes, outpacing those who remain bogged down by legacy systems that are no longer effective. 

Regardless of whether the impetus for change comes from internal or external sources, the key to lasting, positive change is ensuring that the shifts you make are both sufficient and sustainable. Changes that are too subtle may not do enough to achieve their primary goals. On the other hand, if adjustments are too abrupt or drastic, they can cause even greater issues than those they were intended to fix. That’s why a thoughtful, step-by-step plan for change is so useful during any period of evolution and development.

5 Steps for a Successful Change Management Process

So how can leaders follow the necessary steps to guide their companies through growth that is both productive and feasible? Doing so requires setting goals, assembling the right team, and implementing your new ideas. Let’s take a look at five basic steps to keep in mind when creating a change management process for your company. 

Identify Areas for Improvement 

Knowing your targets may sound obvious, but many organizations charge full-steam ahead into process change without spending enough time identifying specific areas for improvement and assessing how they can best be improved. Unclear goals hamper any improvement efforts from the outset, leading to poor decision-making and creating conflict between different stakeholders and priorities going forward.

Understanding precisely what your company needs will allow you to maintain a reference point to guide all of the subsequent steps you take when making decisions. This can include targeting systematic areas, such as slow manual processes, as well as third-party concerns, like managing vendors

Create an Improvement Plan

Once you’ve identified the relevant problem areas and the sources of their inefficiency, the next step is to come up with a strategy for how to address these issues. Explore available resources for your industry and which options may be best suited to your company. Your plan should include any hardware and software to be replaced, resources for any training that may be needed to implement the new systems, and a timeline for when each stage of the process will take place. Often, working with an expert change management consultant can make this process significantly easier and more effective.

Get Stakeholder Approval

Once your goals and direction are clear, it’s essential to take the time to get everyone who will be impacted by the proposed changes on the same page. Organizational change doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and the human element is the single most pivotal element of any organization’s processes. Attempting to implement systems or tools that are not well-suited to your team can be counter-productive, plus lower morale and job satisfaction. Managers in charge of departments should be consulted regarding any changes they’ll be enacting, and the feedback provided by the various stakeholders can help ensure that your plan is in line with your company’s style and capabilities. 

Keep Communication Constant 

Even once the relevant stakeholders have signed off on your initial plan, it’s vital to keep them in the loop as you move forward through the change management process. Bear in mind that this applies in two directions. Those responsible for implementing your change process need to keep both decision-makers and those affected informed of progress. Likewise, inviting and considering feedback from employees and managers “on the ground” is essential to avoiding conflict. Ongoing back-and-forth communication also allows you to get a real-time picture of how your change management process is going at each step. 

Review and Improve 

Another area of change management that often goes neglected is the periodic reassessment of your process. Shifting priorities or new information and developments can all impact the effectiveness of your actions. This is especially true if you’re open to learning lessons from the processes that you’re attempting to implement. Change is, by definition, a dynamic process that involves many moving parts. Rigidly sticking to a singular plan without adapting to new developments and feedback can mean missed opportunities and leave you with an expensive, time-consuming new system in place that is not as helpful to your business as it could have been.

Effective Change Management with Populus

Organizational change is a complex process, and many companies lack the resources needed to implement real growth in-house. That’s why finding the right partner is essential to improving your processes. For instance, many organizations don’t realize that they’re paying for outdated services, trying to implement new technology with limited working knowledge, or increasing their organizational data silos.

Populus Technology has guided organizations through successfully instituting new technologies for years. If you want to position yourself for success, consider reaching out to Populus today. 

Populus Technology provides bespoke IT solutions for our partners, helping support their growth by updating and automating their business processes. We even create custom software solutions for unique workflows where one-size-fits-all tools just won’t do. We also offer services to manage IT partnerships and direct our clients to the best third-party vendors in the industry, so they always get the best results for their tech investments.
If you need help transforming your own internal processes, Populus has the solutions you need. Just contact our team today to learn more!

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