Why Change Management Takes a Village

As a change management practitioner, you can sometimes feel as though you are carrying the weight of the change on your shoulders. It shouldn’t feel this way. There are a number of roles within organisations that are required and designed to support the change management effort. Part three of the Prosci Best Practices report 2018 edition consists of 5 chapters detailing these roles.

Sponsors

Your primary or executive sponsor should be leading the charge on your change. Active and visible sponsorship is the single greatest contributor to the success of a change initiative. Examples of this behaviour include being the first adopter, building excitement and enthusiasm for the project and participating in change activities and messages. Sponsors cannot delegate this behaviour and you can work with their PAs and EAs to ensure they can find time in their diaries to help them carry out this important role. Helping them to build a coalition of sponsors will also ensure a wider acceptance of the need to change across the organisation. 

Managers and Supervisors

Employees look to their managers and supervisors for communication about change, whether that is through formal meetings or informal and subtle behavioural cues they notice around the office. Spending time with managers, ensuring they understand and can advocate for the change is important for change success. Managers are also key to managing resistance to change as they can work with individual employees to coach them through their concerns. Developing managers up front will bring you gains during the change later down the line, as they are the preferred senders of personal change messages to employees. 

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Change Agent Network

Change Agent Networks are becoming an increasingly used mechanism for building momentum and broad support for change. Networks are often comprised of a body of change champions, impacted individuals or influential leaders. They can extend project support, enhance communication, increase knowledge across the network through idea sharing, build the credibility of the change and boost ownership for it too. Engaging a group in the change can help provide an alternative communication channel to the usual corporate channels.

Consultants

External consultants can provide vital support to a change which can take a variety of forms, including: change management lead, advisor to a change management team, resource for communications regarding change and change management, mentor, coach and training provider. These roles vary in commitment, with a change management lead likely to spend most of their time embedded in the team, whereas an advisor to a change management team may only appear once every few weeks to support the completion of assessments. The activities carried out by consultants will also differ greatly with some creating communications for the change and others providing support and feedback to those on the frontline of the change. 

Complementary Roles

You may also find some roles and positions within your organisation can complement or impact change management. Roles that are highlighted in the Best Practices Report are: internal communications, human resources business partners (HRBPs), internal consultants, business analysts and organisational development. You can leverage the experience and expertise of internal communications to support the timing, method and shaping of content regarding the change. This group will also help to audit for compliance, content review, message consistency and alignment with project/company objectives.

As you know, managers and supervisors are key to supporting the change management effort. You will not be able to provide coaching and support for all of these managers at the same time, and that is where the HRBPs come in. They can coach managers and senior leaders in their roles during change and support teams by providing training and development opportunities to all layers of the organisation. You may also find that HRBPs can offer insight to the change regarding job role impacts, labour regulations, training requirements and legal matters.

You may be lucky enough to have access to internal consultants who are change management subject matter experts. Generally internal consultants were the first to be trained in change management in an organisation and act as advisors, consistently evaluating, directing and providing feedback on how the change management methodology should be deployed within specific departments. Often internal consultants can advise on messaging and awareness building for specific impacted groups.

Business analysts have various roles in change, whether that is as change managers; assessing the impact change would have on the organisation, as project managers; creating the process for reaching the future state, and as external support to the change initiative by performing research, data analysis and by integrating the change and project management plans into a holistic project plan.

Finally, organisational development can assist in development and delivery of training and as experts in the organisational culture of the organisation to help align to the overall company strategy. This is particularly important when determining the timing of change activities to align them with other company goals and initiatives.

For a full exploration of how to manage change in your organisation, find out more about the Prosci Change Management Pracitioner programme! Download the brochure.