Continuous Improvement
human resources manufacturing industry

Successful Change Management Needs Everyone

When it comes to change management, many people react with resistance and fear of change. Although companies can feel skeptical about new systems and processes, change management is often the key to a company’s success and satisfied employees.

As we have been implementing our Connected Workforce Solution into manufacturing companies for many years, we know all about change management. We move these companies away from their paper-based and excel processes to digitising their workflows into a single source of truth and we have witnessed the initial resistance and ultimate success that comes with this change to work flows first hand. 

We are going to reveal some secrets to change management and why it is so important to involve employees.

So, what is change management?

‘Change Management’ is the adaption of a company to changing circumstances, especially workflows.  When taking this onboard, companies can reduce the internal resistance that sometimes arises during digital transformations in particular.

A good time for change management is as soon as a significant change in structures, processes or technologies is to take place within your company. When it comes to the introduction of new technology, it is important that the process is initiated as early as possible. 

Change Management Stages

There are many different frameworks for implementing a change management process. What all these frameworks have in common is that the various phases usually accompany a emotions to change such as resistance, fear, denial etc. However art the end if a successful change management process, there is always acceptance of the new which can then be implemented to the employee’s environment in a value adding way.

We recommend the phase model of traditional project management. It distinguishes 5 phases:

  1. Analysis & Initiation: This involves determining the current state of a workflow with regard to whether a process or activity needs to be changed.
  2. Planning: The second step focuses on the development of a change concept and the creation of a corresponding plan.
  3. Implementation: In this phase, the change concept is implemented and the change plan is put into practice
  4. Control: This phase is used to monitor the change process and ensure that deviations are identified.
  5. Closure: In the final phase, the change process is evaluated in retrospect, the new process and systems are monitored and a final report is prepared.

Change management should undoubtedly come from the management team. Good change management starts with a clear vision from the leadership circle of how the company wants to develop in the future. If those in charge are committed to this, they create an environment in which employees can prepare themselves internally for the upcoming changes.

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Why do people react to change management processes with feelings of resistance, resentment and apprehension?

This has to do with the fact change management processes introduce a change, a kind of farewell to the old and familiar ways of doing a process which offers a feeling of security. Ultimately this can lead to negative feelings among employees taking on the change causing teething problems and the fear of the unknown. These feelings can be triggered when a change process is put in place in an organisation and employees feel threatened or caught off guard by the new and have not been giving enough training or information or time to get used to the new changes.

A strategy which has proven successful when individual departments or employees are taking on a change request

Changing a work process or introducing a new system into a company involves everyone. Those who are champions for a change and understand the need for it, see the associated opportunities along with the risk, they are always the ones who accept the change.

Engagement and involvement from employees can take the form of workshops or training sessions. It is crucial to address any concerns or doubts but also ideas and opinions from employees which will positively involve them actively in the change process. Involving employees who have a strong and positive influence on their colleagues is important for this change to be successful. These employees can act as role models and influencers in their environment. We have seen this being successful when introducing our Connected Workforce Solution to Manufacturing and Supply Chain companies, positively influencing colleagues to move away from old yet comfortable paper-based or excel processes to a single source of truth under one system benefiting the entire business.

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