Change Management: Running Your Business When Everything Is Constantly Changing.
3rd Sep 2019 | Emily Fletcher
We live in a fast-paced, constantly-evolving world. We demand our goods and services to be delivered ever-more quickly, almost instantly. We want better quality products for less money, and we want them now! Consumerism drives demand and businesses that do not keep up lose their place in the market.
Consumer demands, new technologies and compliance updates are just three of many reasons why enterprises are constantly having to change their protocols and procedures.
Some changes are unplanned and imposed by circumstances (legal updates, compliance revisions, health and safety), but the majority of changes are those that are planned with the aim of improving business performance and growth. These are the changes that keep your organisation relevant and competitive.
All changes, be them small or large, require planning and critically, excellent communication of the changes to members of the team.
The major changes are often easier to implement because they are meticulously planned and benefit from top-level communication which is then devolved down. Everyone is made fully aware of the new practices required to achieve a high-level goal. This could be anything from adding a new product to the business range, modernising the delivery of existing services or installing new technology. Such significant changes are dedicated the time, energy and resources to ensure their implementation is successful.
But what about constant, small changes such as additional sign-off procedures, an added step in the invoicing process or reducing the product delivery time from two days to one? These are often over-looked as being less important and thus are not managed as well. The result can be delays in output, inefficient productivity and confused staff. You might even find yourself confronted with unhappy customers. Predominantly, it is these small changes that happen on a much more frequent basis and thus solutions and systems need to be put in place so they can be managed in a seamless, on-going manner without negatively impacting employees and customers.
Employees are, of course, the life-blood of any business and are responsible for correctly implementing all changes that occur within the organisation. If they are ill-informed, confused and are not fully aware of what is changing and why, then the process will not be smooth and staff morale will be negatively impacted. Negative staff morale has huge consequences for every business and no-one wants Maureen or Joe moaning at the coffee machine because they don’t understand why they need to do things in a different way.
Change management, of any degree, is made easier by:
- Being planned and prepared
- Being effectively communicated to avoid confusion and resistance
- Allowing time for team members to adapt to new processes
- By offering effective training and support
- The provision of adequate resources
- Monitoring and reviewing the process
Having systems in place that help an organisation do this effectively is key. Reporting systems, document management systems and team training systems are all beneficial in managing change by automatically creating notifications for new procedures, compliance changes, processes and more.
Having all of these systems contained within one system which interlinks all the modules is even better. It enables the senior team of a company to create the changes to processes that are required and to communicate them effectively with all implicated team members. The benefits are:
- Compliance records are maintained, and an audit cycle is created
- Processes can be updated and communicated immediately, causing minimal disruption
- Employee training records are automatically updated
- Documents are revised/archived correctly
- Having a communication portal which involves team members at every level, minimising resistance to change
Change need not be scary. Whether it is imposed or desired, the outcome is always to benefit the end consumer and the business as a whole.
Remember to ‘Plan – Do – Review’ and to make use, where possible, of a digital system to manage not only the changes to your processes but your team members’ knowledge. There are a million Maureens and Joes out there and they all need support if your business is to thrive.
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