Oftentimes, the higher you go in an organization, the more you see of “the big picture,” but the less you see of the details. So what seems like a small change to you may be a very big change to somebody else. Don’t let this blind spot cost you time, money, employee satisfaction and customer experience. You need a change management plan.
Even a seemingly minor change could have a huge impact.
In our conversations with customers, it’s rare to come across somebody not on board with change management. Everyone seems to agree that when change occurs in an organization, you need to leverage that change and help employees make a smooth, comfortable transition.
Where the disagreement occurs is in determining the scope of that change management program.
We’ve all heard some variation of “It’s just a little change — it’s no big deal. We do it all the time. Just send a quick email and we’ll be fine.” In our experience, however, the size of the change is relative to the people you’re communicating with — and you never truly know how important a change is until you talk with the people it impacts.
A matter of perspective
Oftentimes, the higher you go in an organization, the more you see of “the big picture,” but the less you see of the details. So what seems like a small change to you may be a very big change to somebody else.
This can create issues across your entire organization. What might seem like a small change to an IT manager — replacing a legacy piece of software with the latest and greatest, for example — can have a massive impact on the people who use the software all day long. Without a change management program in place, those affected by this change will struggle — impacting productivity, efficiency and staff morale.
What it comes down to is that a robust and proactive change management programme should always be in place before undergoing a change. It benefits both the organization and the individual.
How to manage change
When approaching change management, you need a holistic approach. This is why an external partner can prove so helpful. Having someone unaffiliated with your organization examining your processes with an unbiased perspective can be invaluable. For example, when our consulting team works with an organization, we first do an analysis of the project scope, timeline and budget to ensure that we have the appropriate resources to effectively support every department and all of the key figures throughout the organization. And rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, we look at customizing that support for the particular needs of the organization.
We do this because the impacts of not having an effective change management programme in place can be devastating. Say you’ve spent a tonne of money on technology and services to perform a specific activity. Without a change management programme, that piece of technology oftentimes sits around gathering cobwebs, as workers stick to what’s familiar and comfortable. Even when the technology is used, it’s rare that organizations without a change management plan ever reap the full utility and value out of it.
Trust us, we’ve seen it all. We’ve even worked with companies that had previously spent millions on process automation software with no plan for rollout. So rather than addressing the needs of their workforce, they had simply hired more people to compensate for the poor end user adoption and continued performing the processes almost entirely manually. Obviously, this dramatically — and needlessly — increased overhead.
Organizations without a strong change management programme too often see resources wasted, productivity stifled, employee engagement eroded, revenue lost and inefficiencies permeating the entire organization — and as change continues to happen, these problems only get worse.
Addressing a misconception
Oftentimes, these problems result from a fundamental misconception about what exactly change management is. Many are hesitant to spend money on something they perceive as “just training” that doesn’t provide much revenue in return. But change management is so much more than that. When done effectively, a change management plan should, as much as possible, be tied to ROI. A strong change management plan will examine performance baselines and generate a roadmap with actual, definable metrics.
That’s what you should demand out of any change management plan – and any partner. Because even a small change can mean a great deal to your business, your people and, ultimately, to your customers – so it pays to get it right.
Today’s digital shift requires a culture shift as well – but many businesses aren’t sure where to start. Let Ricoh help you feel inspired to lead the way – that’s Change. For better.
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