Several years ago, the local hospital made the decision to build a completely new hospital building a few miles away from the current hospital.  There was much excitement in our small community as the new hospital rose, all sleek and stylish.  Phrases like “state of the art” and “cutting edge technology” were used, raising the anticipation and excitement levels in the community.

These same phrases caused anxiety levels to skyrocket amongst current employees of the hospital.  “State of the art” was interpreted as the latest new confusing gadgets and security to overcome in order to perform jobs.  Simple things like having access to open doors and communicate with other departments, not to mention, how the clients would be served were changing.  “Cutting edge technology” was a fancy phrase for learning new systems.  What’s more, these changes were going to take place at one time – when the move was made to the new hospital.  Hospital employees were close to melt-down state, with record numbers of retirement teas, as the moving date drew near.

No matter the size of change or how fantastic life will be after the change, change produces anxiety and fear of the unknown.  Enter the need for Organizational Change Management (OCM).  OCM is a comprehensive, structured approach to prepare the organization at all levels to adapt and even embrace the change from current state to future state of business.  There are several steps to change management.

Initial Change Review – Once the change has been proposed, it should be examined to determine alignment with the organization’s mission and goals.  The cost of the change compared to projected future benefits of the change should be researched.

Pre-change Measurements – Core areas of measurements should be determined to assess the future success of the change.  Metrics for these areas should be documented.

Impact – Areas should be evaluated for possible impact from the change.  Each area should determine the impact the change will have to processes and line of business.

Communication – A communication strategy should be implemented with all areas impacted by the change.  Communication should account for feedback received.  Employee participation in a dialogue of change can increase employee buy in.  A positive energy is created around the change.

Process Review – Sessions with each affected area should be held and information gathered to ensure all requirements of each affected process are being met as efficiently as possible.  New “To Be” processes are created, and policies and procedures are updated to reflect the change.  Employees become active participants in the change.

Training – Comprehensive training is held for all employees on every process affected by change, prior to implementation of the change.  This will increase familiarity and confidence in the new process.

Implementation Support – Create a structure to support the implementation of the change.  Have resources available to address questions, concerns and issues that might arise during implementation.

Post-change Measurements – Once the change has been implemented, take core area measurements to compare with the pre-change measurements.  These measurements can help determine success of the change.

With effective OCM methodology, the success of the change can be determined through measurements.  Fears and anxiety surrounding change are alleviated.  OCM manages the stress levels around change by preparing staff through communication, involvement and training.