An organization has decided to purchase a new computer system. It has all the bells and whistles, and according to the salesperson, should improve productivity, saving time and money. This sounds great! Let’s make the change immediately!
Whoa! Slow down! Moving too fast creates chaos for businesses and their employees. Leaping without looking could put an organization at risk. It could push employees into early retirement or mental breakdowns from the added anxiety and stress. A company has to ask itself:
- Is this a financially-sound decision?
- Are all requirements needed to provide their product or service being met?
- What steps are performed day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year that will need to be accounted for?
Change is a process, not an event. A plan is needed: an organizational change management (OCM) plan, to be specific. An OCM plan will assess the readiness of the business for the change. If the results are positive, it will address how to make the change using a comprehensive, structured approach to prepare the organization at all levels to adapt and even embrace the change.
The first step to an OCM plan is to perform a readiness assessment, which will assist in determining if the company is ready to make a change. Some of the elements addressed in the assessment include:
- Examining project goals and objectives to determine if they are in alignment with the organization’s mission and goals
- Determining leadership support
- Performing a cost analysis to compare projected future benefits against the cost of the project or change
- Reviewing financials to determine if the organization can support the financial burden of the project
- Reviewing new and old system capabilities and compatibility
Once the readiness assessment is performed, the organization has the needed information to decide whether they should proceed with the change. If the answer is yes, other aspects of the OCM plan are implemented. Areas of measurement need to be determined to assess the future success of the project and document metrics.
Then a communication strategy is put in place to determine what communications are sent when and to whom. This will provide a consistent message reiterated throughout the organization regarding the change as well as a method for employees to be involved and provide input.
Sessions with each affected area and their staff determine and document the current processes, including issues and concerns. Business requirements are gathered and any regulations that must be met are noted. The documentation from the current processes are analyzed and incorporated in future processes. Sessions are then held to determine how future processes will incorporate the change.
Comprehensive training is important for all employees on any processes affected by the change. It should include training materials and updated policies and procedures. Training will provide an increase in familiarity and confidence among employees performing the new process.
The change is then implemented. Resources are on-hand during implementation to answer questions and address issues that may arise. Once the process has been implemented, metrics are taken to determine the success of the project.
By following an OCM plan, all levels of the organization are prepared for change, and it can be assessed for success.
If your organization needs an OCM plan, contact us today.