Navigating Change: Setting and Reaching Change Management Priorities
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Navigating Change: Setting and Reaching Change Management Priorities

Headshot of a man with a blurred background By Ben Reiland October 19, 2023

Categories: Company Culture Mobile Workforce

Too often, change management is the business world’s vegetables. You can’t have dessert without having eaten your vegetables. But as challenging as it is, change management is essential to a company’s organizational growth and development. Is there anything your company can do to better navigate the difficulties of a big change? Let’s explore. 

Understanding Change Management 

In today’s world of lightning fast innovation, change management has a big role. Whether it’s shifting websites, switching sales enablement tools or implementing a new program and process, change management is essential. Failing to succeed in rolling out these new tech changes impacts the success of the whole company. And, conversely, succeeding in your change management efforts can mean achieving businesses goals.   

There are different types of changes: technological, structural, procedural, cultural, etc. Keep in mind, each type of requires a tailored change management approach. The way a company roles out new tech to one or multiple departments is not the same way a company’s HR team is going to roll out DEI initiatives. 

Considerations When Prioritizing Change Management 

Successful change management relies on good planning and being proactive. Part of that planning is prioritization. What should you prioritize when looking at shaking up the status quo? There are three major factors to consider: minimized resistance, smooth implementation and ROI. Let’s look at each of these in turn, beginning with minimizing resistance. 

Minimizing Resistance: Leading Change With – Not Against—Employees  

One of the largest obstacles companies face when enacting a new change is resistance. Whether it’s a few leaders, a department or the entire employee base, nothing is surer to halt the wheels of progress than pushing change on the unwilling. 

That’s why it’s important to understand why employees often resist change. The typical causes are either fear of the unknown—if it’s new and they don’t know it, they don’t trust it—or disruption of routines—we’ve been doing it this way for so long, why change it now? 

Fortunately, addressing these concerns in advance can improve acceptance. Be open with employees about the change. Loop them in early and answer any questions they have. Provide them with resources so they better understand the changes they’re going to experience, and how it will benefit them personally. Encouraging impacted employees to be a part of the change process will lead to a more successful outcome. Rolling out the change in groups gives employees the opportunity to share feedback with leadership and their peers, ideally improving adoption over time.   

Ensuring Smooth Implementation 

Well-managed rollouts lead to smoother transitions and minimized disruptions. Children’s birthday parties might not be anyone’s pinnacle of smooth implementation, but let’s consider a few scenarios. Timmy’s parents call Charles E. Fromage in advance to reserve a table and time for a specific group size weeks in advance. That party is going to go off better than when a pack of children arrive with no advance warning.  

Smooth implementation means planning for the expected and identifying potential areas of risk. Smooth implementation includes addressing employees, sharing education materials with them, preparing them for the roll out. Focus groups are another important way to improve the planning and implementation process. More often than not, sentiments shared in focus groups are felt elsewhere. Smooth implementation also means remaining on top of duties, avoiding project delays and costly mistakes. 

Maximizing Return on Investment (ROI) 

In the world of today, we hear return on investment, we think in financial terms. But that shouldn’t be the only consideration when thinking of the benefits. When a company decides to shift from one vendor to another because of better tech, the return on investment might be increased productivity or data insights. Effective change management can have an impact on that. Employees who’ve been properly prepared and included in the process will better understand the new tool and its impact on their work life. The result? Better utilization of resources. And the quicker the employees’ adoption of the new process, program or technology the better the result. 

Strategies for Effective Change Management 

We’ve talked about how important planning is to smooth transitions and implementations. Now it’s time to talk strategy. There are countless ways a company can approach their change management plan. We’re going to focus on impact and readiness assessment, phased implementation and training and support. Let’s start with assessing impact and readiness. 

Impact and Readiness Assessment 

Technological, structural, procedural, cultural—whatever the type of change, companies must assess the potential impact on the organization. That’s not just looking at how the business will benefit. It’s also considering possible disadvantages. This will help considerably in the decision-making process. A company looking to add a pool to the company office might see an increase in employee engagement and after work hours activity, but weighing that against the many disadvantages and risks would likely stop such an initiative in its tracks. 

The other element that’s important to assess is the organization’s readiness for the change. What communication methods do you have in place?  Do you have executive stakeholders, champions and project managers in the right departments? What is the technical infrastructure needed? Let’s look at a company using a typical internal communication system like Teams or Slack. Suddenly, a member of leadership decides now is the time to do all internal communications in VR. As “cutting edge” as that might sound, how ready is the company for a change of that size? A thorough assessment can save the company a lot of change management headaches. 

Phased Implementation 

A great way to add chaos to any new implementation is biting off more than you can chew. We understand, the sooner the new policy, technology, what have you is implemented, the sooner it starts working for your company. But trying to do too much at once will take away any benefits of a quick launch.  

Instead, break down the complex elements into manageable phases. Assessing impact and readiness will only be the first step. The steps that follow might include a company townhall or focus groups for questions and answers, a series of education or training sessions, and phased roll out with feedback groups. This approach minimizes risks and allows for course correction as needed. 

Training and Support 

As mentioned in previous sections, training and education go a long way towards minimizing resistance. There are a number of training strategies employers can use to that prioritize efficient change management. In person sessions are one option. Another is online training, with potential added benefits of viewing how much of the learning an employee has engaged with. In all likelihood, the best method is a combination. If you’re looking to train employees around a big change, you’ll want to be flexible. Offer trainings that meet the needs/desires of all employees as best you can – and don’t forget to lean on and partner with your vendors! The best partners and vendors will have a wealth of experience and even templates to help you hit the ground running.  

Another element that hasn’t been touched on is systems set in place to help employees adapt to change. While links and one pagers may help employees self-educate, having someone to speak with about changes will help employees feel their voices are being heard. All company town halls are a step in the right direction, but having an ongoing option for employees to ask questions away from the spotlight will cover even more bases – again, look to your partners and vendors for advice here.   

Measuring and Adapting Change Management Success 

How does a company measure the success of the change management process? As with any project or corporate undertaking, there should be key performance indicators (KPIs). Relevant KPIs to measure the success of change management efforts will depend on the type of change. If it’s an organizational change, has productivity increased in any discernable way? If it’s a technological change, success metrics might include user engagement. Remember, KPI’s should be set early in the implementation process. These metrics will reflect employee engagement, productivity, overall business performance and more. 

Another area to measure success is continuous improvement. Even if you’ve just come to the end of a massive system overhaul, take the time to reflect on the process. It’s important to learn from past experiences. Even if the next project won’t be in the same area, the experience may inform how your team tackles each element. Don’t be afraid to survey employees after a big change as well. Organizations can use feedback and data to refine their change management strategies over time. 


Change is inevitable. To make sure that inevitability goes smoothly, it’s vital to have a change management strategy. With the right policy, you can steer a clear path through resistance to a bright and shiny future. Don’t forget to take your time and meet each step along the journey: assessing the impact and company readiness, implementing change in phases and offering proper training and support to those involved. Afterword, gauge success with KPI’s and employee sentiment. Beyond the project, this will help your company create a record to measure against future change management efforts. 

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