What Is Change Management and Its Best Practices? (List)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 14, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organization typically expereince a number of changes over time. When changes occur, many professionals look to the leadership in their organizations to guide them through the change and help make it manageable. Understanding what change management is, and its best practices, can help you guide an organization through changes with minimal disruptions to production and the lives of professionals. In this article, we discuss the answer to "What is change management and its best practices?", explore types of organizational change, and review a list of best practices you can use to guide an organization effectively.

What is change management and its best practices?

You might be interested in learning the answer to "What is change management and its best practices?". It is a way that the leaders of an organization can help employees work through changes. This includes understanding some leadership theories, what happens when change occurs, and how people react to change. Change management can help an organization prepare for and handle change effectively, with minimal disruption to its production and the lives of professionals who work there. For example, if an organization announces its plans to merge with another organization, then professionals may react in different ways, and it's the leadership's role to manage the change.

Related: Change Phases: How to Prepare a Team for Change in 4 Steps

Types of organizational change

There are three types of organizational change, detailed below:

Developmental change

Developmental changes are any changes an organization makes to established processes, strategies, and procedures to optimize those routines to benefit the professionals and the organization. For example, an organization that provides written documents to other businesses may change how writers submit those documents. This can be a challenge for some professionals, especially when the process has been around for a long time. Leaders in an organization can minimize the impact of changes in several ways to make them easier to accept by the affected professionals.

Transitional change

Transitional changes are ones that move an organization from one way of existing to another way of existing. These can include mergers, acquisitions, and automation. For example, an organization that assembles computers might adapt its processes to allow for more AI and computer-guided machines to become part of the assembly process. This can affect where professionals go to perform their roles and the tasks they perform, especially if the machines take on a role that people were doing previously. Professionals in these roles may feel displaced by the machines, which is where leadership can help manage expectations for everyone involved.

Transformational change

Transformational change is when the fundamental culture, values, or operations of an organization change. These include changes wherein an organization creates a positive environment for professionals. For example, an organization might move the furniture in an office to create a better system of communication between professionals working on related projects. This can include changing where desks are, moving machines that the office professionals use, and altering how the professionals move in the office to create the change. These types of changes are the most common in organizations when they move from one major project or product to another.

Best practices for change management

Below are best practices you can use for effective change management:

Create clear goals

When a change process begins in your organization, creating clear goals for why the change is happening can make it easier for other professionals to accept. This includes helping others understand how you think the change leads to a specific goal. For example, if you're changing the organization of offices, explaining that its goals are to create better communication between office professionals, allow materials to move faster through the office, and give everyone spaces away from the office for their breaks can help everyone adjust to the change more easily because they understand the reasons behind the decision.

Related: What Is the Goal of Leadership? (With 14 Goals You Can Set)

Be transparent about changes

Transparency is very important in helping people adapt to changes. This doesn't start only when the changes happen. Being transparent starts as leaders contemplate a change and understand how it may benefit an organization before they implement it. For example, if an organization is creating more space for automated machines to perform within production, then letting everyone know before the machine appears can minimize negative feelings about it and allow professionals time to adjust to the change before it happens.

Support your professionals

As changes occur in your organization, supporting every professional within the organization can help them adapt to changes quickly and effectively. This minimizes the amount of disruption to your organization's production and the negative feelings that may arise during a change. Support can come in a variety of ways. For professionals that the change affects directly, you can help them understand how their roles continue with the change. For other professionals, reassuring them of their role within the organization can help. Finally, you can offer ways to help professionals who the changes displace, such as helping them find other roles.

Encourage communication

While communication is important for any organization, it's especially important when changes occur in an organization. It encourages professionals to reach out to leadership with questions they may have, which can help them form their independent understanding of the changes and accept them more readily. For example, changing the organization's processes might create questions about how the new process affects timelines for in-progress projects, changes the workload, and the tasks professionals conduct.

Related: A Guide to Effective Group Communication (With Tips)

Support the changes

As a leader within an organization, many professionals may watch what your reaction is to a change and use your behaviour as a model for how to react. Supporting the changes that occur can help other people understand the change isn't negative. As other professionals may notice your behaviour, show your support for the change, and remind other leaders how they can help the transition go smoothly. It also helps others when they see you're confident about the change, which can help them accept it.

Empower the other professionals with who you work

Empowerment is helping individuals think, manage, behave, and decide about their career, career goals, and the changes that occur involving them. Helping professionals feel empowered can help them feel as though they have control over some aspects of their surroundings. This can help during times of change because people may feel like they have no control over any changes. Showing them aspects they can control as the change occurs can help them see the extent to which their role changes, and limit the uncertainty they may feel as changes happen, which can help them accept the change more easily.

Related: What Is Employee Empowerment? (With Benefits and Tips)

Engage in documentation

Documentation creates records of what an organization does and why they do it. This can help people understand change more effectively because they can read about the changes and the reasoning behind it. If the organization already has documentation experts, adding change documentation can help them feel secure in their roles and provide critical documents for other professionals in the organization. This can also help if the organization has changed in the past because the documentation explores the effects of previous changes in the organization's history.

Related: What Is Technical Documentation? (With Types and Tips)

Share all the knowledge

As more information about the change becomes available, share the information with every professional in the organization because it can help limit feelings of uncertainty. Sharing information is part of both communication and transparency, but only sharing parts of what's happening can create more questions as professionals feel they aren't getting all the details. For example, if an organization is going through an automation process and new machines the organization didn't discuss appear in locations, professionals are going to have a lot of questions and feel like they don't have the information they need.

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