8 Steps For Implementing Change in Your Organization
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated September 8, 2022 | Published January 5, 2021
Updated September 8, 2022
Published January 5, 2021
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.
Helping your business grow and thrive often requires implementing change throughout the organization. Knowing which changes to make will help ensure a smooth transition for your company.
In this article, we discuss what it means to implement change within an organization, the benefits of change implementation and eight helpful steps plus tips to help you with this process.
What does it mean to implement change?
When implementing change within an organization, it means you are shifting the way that you do business in some way, whether that involves a new business strategy, employee practices or the implementation of new software or equipment.
Implementing change effectively requires change management, which is a process that helps employees prepare for an organizational transition using various resources and strategies. It’s recommended that you develop a plan that will gain employee buy-in and provide them with the necessary tools to achieve the intended change.
What are the benefits of change implementation?
Changes are usually implemented to achieve greater efficiency in meeting business goals or to adjust processes for new goals.
The type of change you implement will vary on your organization's objectives and industry. However, some general benefits of implementing change in an organization include:
Improving collaboration or cooperation within the business
Improving employee productivity
Improving the efficiency of work processes
Adapting or responding to changes more efficiently
Providing a path to achieve specific business objectives
8 steps to implement organizational change
Successful change management requires implementing multiple phases to ensure the transition runs smoothly. By following these eight steps, you can keep your business on track while achieving a transition:
1. Identify the change and perform an impact assessment
To begin, you should first identify the necessary change and make sure that it aligns with your company’s overall objectives. Once you identify your goal, perform an impact assessment to evaluate how the change will affect all levels of your organization. This assessment will provide guidelines on how to implement the change because it shows who faces the most impact and will need the most support or training.
2. Develop a plan
Use the insights you gained in the preparation phase to determine how to implement the changes needed. Create a plan that sets the direction for your organization, including how to achieve the necessary changes and ways to measure whether the changes were successful.
Depending on the scope of the change you implement, you may need to include a plan on how you will support employees through this transition. Your impact assessment identified the most impacted employees, so your implementation plan also needs to include any type of support or training that these employees may need. Things to consider include mentorship programs, cross-training plans and open-door policies where employees can ask for assistance and receive clarification.
3. Communicate the change to employees
To effectively convey the change to employees, you’ll need to develop a communications strategy. In this plan, outline your main messages, identify your audience and determine who or what medium will deliver this information. Depending on the change, you may also need to consider how management will respond to resistance or feedback from employees.
Due to your impact assessment, you will likely already know which level of the organization will be affected most by the change. It is recommended that you communicate with these employees first and most often.
4. Provide reasons for the change
To gain the support of employees when implementing change, you must demonstrate the necessity of the change. Often, the best way to achieve this is to present data that supports your decision. Such data may involve customer or employee surveys, strategic business goals or budget plans. Remember to underscore the benefits the change implementation will bring. Employees who understand why the change is happening may be more likely to feel motivated to actively participate in the change.
5. Seek employee feedback
After communicating the change to employees, offer them the opportunity to provide feedback. You can either schedule times to conduct in-person feedback sessions or send out surveys. Change can make some people nervous, so allowing employees to voice their opinions makes them feel like part of the decision or conversation. You may even gain insights into how to improve your implementation plans. Encouraging employees to voice their concerns also allows the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings and answer any lingering questions.
6. Launch the change
Effective change happens in stages, which ensures that employees are not overwhelmed. Create a timeline that starts with the aspects that you must complete first, such as employee training, equipment acquisition or software installation. It’s helpful to set a deadline for when you want to evaluate the implementation process and determine whether it achieved your intended goals. Depending on how much time you have to implement change, you may want to consider a pilot program. By having a small group of employees test the change before you implement it company-wide, you increase the likelihood of a successful change.
7. Monitor the change
As you implement change throughout an organization, continue to monitor the process to ensure all of your employees follow proper implementation procedures. Depending on your role, you may directly observe employees or delegate the tasks to other supervisors.
Try to monitor progress on at least a weekly basis—toward the beginning of implementation, you may even want to review progress daily. Keeping a close watch on your progress will help you fix any mistakes you hadn’t anticipated and gauge any other unexpected outcomes from the change.
8. Evaluate the change
Work with your employees or team to determine how you will measure the success of the implementation. In some situations, you may have quantifiable results that can be easily measured. If you don’t have quantifiable data to work with, you may want to brainstorm other ways of measuring success. For instance, you could consider the following points:
What was the goal of this change?
What should success look like, given our starting-point goal?
Which areas of our business have improved since the change was implemented?
Are there any areas that have reduced their productivity?
During the planning phase, you set a deadline to evaluate the implementation. When you reach this deadline, meet with your team to assess the results based on your established guidelines for measuring success.
Determine whether the changes met your business goals or made progress toward them. You can also discuss whether the change implementation process worked as intended and determine whether you need to make any improvements. Share the results of your discussion with employees — seeing that they made progress or achieved goals can help motivate them at work.
Tips for effecting change implementation
Here are some additional tips o create a more effective change implementation process within your organization:
Create a culture of change
To successfully implement change throughout an organization, you must create an environment that promotes change. You can start this plan during your hiring process — include questions that assess a candidate’s interest in change implementation and whether they have relevant experience. You will also want management staff who show enthusiasm for change and a willingness for flexibility, which they can then pass onto their teams.
Communicate changes to management first
Discuss your intended changes with management employees first, which they can translate to their employees. These managers need to understand your vision and the benefits of the plan, which they can then communicate to their teams. Make sure to provide a concise, clear and consistent message for them to share to ensure everyone is on track.
Recognize the impact of changes
Change can be difficult for employees, so it’s important to acknowledge their feelings and concerns when communicating these changes. Try to frame the change in ways that demonstrate why it improves the current system and how it will directly benefit the employees themselves. Listen closely to feedback and look for ways to make the transition easier for employees.
Maintain open communication
Though it’s important to communicate change implementation and encourage feedback at the onset of change, sustained transparency throughout the entire process will garner trust from your employees. Continue to offer employees the chance to provide feedback, either through organized surveys or a policy that allows them to contact their managers as needed. Open communication also helps you solve unexpected challenges as they arise.
Create a more positive change implementation process by celebrating key milestones and overall successes. Employees who see their progress being celebrated might feel more motivated to keep achieving goals. A successful and positive experience can build employees' trust in the organization's leadership and make acceptance for the next change implementation easier to gain.
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