7 key steps to achieve organisational change

All complex organisations need to change. They need to respond to a multitude of challenges, whether economic, due to the fast-moving business environment, or simply to take advantage of game-changing technology.

Unfortunately, it’s not always a smooth transition. To really elicit change and impact how an organisation operates, it’s always going affect an integral asset within the business; its people. If an employee walks because business changes are handled badly that results in intimate knowledge leaving the building, as well as the associated time and costs of recruitment and getting new employees up to speed.

Reportedly, 70% of change management policies fail. But, by approaching it strategically and adhering to key steps, you can make sure you’re part of the 30%.

1. Define what results and outcomes you want to see

Process is not an outcome. Bringing new technology into your business or re-invigorating tired and inefficient processes should not be the end-goal of organisational change. The key thing to define is exactly what the results and outcomes you want to see for the business are.

2. Detail the key change and align it to business goals

Run a critical review against your business goals and KPIs to ensure the change will carry the business the right way strategically and financially. Ask why the change is needed and whether it will have the desired impact.

3. Make sure your leadership is aligned

Your management team must be on the same page. You need agreement on the fundamental issue, alignment on the approach to take, a shared vision of what good looks like, and consensus on how to measure the economic impact of the change for the business.

4. Determine impacts and define those who will be affected

For a business to really change, it’s key that all employees are on the journey with you. However, steps one and two will define those employees who absolutely must be informed of the key change and the impact it will have on them.

5. Implement a communications strategy

Having already identified those who will be immediately affected, it’s key to communicate this in the most appropriate way. This is the first step of your communications strategy.

When it comes to communicating broad-based change to the rest of the business, this should be done once systems and processes are in place, training has happened for those who are integral to the change, and a training programme has been put in place for the rest of the business.

Always consider the emotional and cultural factors of your company, as well as the potential behavioural factors of employees.

The communications strategy should consist of:

  • A timeline for how the change will be incrementally communicated – including short-term and long-term intervals and communications initiatives

  • Key messages

  • The channels that will be used

6. Develop a training program

As part of your communications strategy, let your people know they will receive training to learn the skills and knowledge required to operate efficiently as the change is rolled out. This could be formal, informal, online learning, or face to face.

A support structure should also be in place to help employees emotionally and practically cope with the new change.

7. Measure and track

Once the change process is up and running, it’s key to measure and track its success against your defined KPIs. Remember the alignment of the leadership team and the shared vision of what better looks like? This must inform all elements of the measurement and reporting. Key questions include:

  • How are tools and processes being implemented?

  • Is anything lagging behind the schedule and defined timelines?

  • How are individuals being affected and are their concerns and thoughts being adequately addressed?

  • Has the change assisted in achieving defined business goals?

  • What could have been done differently?

Strong leadership, the right processes, proper communication, and alignment to core business goals should always be your key ingredients to bring about business change.

At J B Cole, we work with manufacturing and complex organisations to understand operational inefficiencies and customer requirements to identify the right tech to respond to the individual challenges of the specific sector and client.

You can learn more about our client approach and results through our case studies, as well as our work in the manufacturing industry at one of our upcoming events.