How To Propose Change in The Workplace (And Why It's Important)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 8, 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.

As many industries are frequently changing, members of the workforce sometimes think of ways companies can improve their processes. Leadership teams might require formal change proposals submitted by employees to consider updates to their current operations. Learning about this concept can help you understand why a proposal for change might be an effective way to keep businesses improving. In this article, we discuss what a proposal for change is and share essential details about it, like why it's important and how you can create your own in the workplace.

What is a proposal for change?

A proposal for change is a formal request noting what you might hope to change about an organization. These can involve changes in several areas, like improving processes, changing responsibilities or adjusting customer-facing products and materials. Employees often create these to document what a current situation is and how their change might influence a positive change for a company.

Related: How To Write an Internal Proposal (With Definition and Example)

Why is it important to create a proposal for change?

There are several reasons why proposing changes in the workplace can be important:

Increasing credibility

You can increase your credibility with change proposals, as it shows you've performed research and are thinking about ways to improve the organization. When formatted properly, this can show leaders you're serious about your job. Even if you receive a proposal rejection, leaders in an organization may come to you with new ideas about other changes that you can help them work through.

Learning details

As you often research and discuss work topics while creating a proposal, this can help you learn additional details about your organization or department. For example, you might learn what responsibilities others have on the team that can help you do yours better. This business knowledge can help you perform better in your current or future roles and teach you how to create a formal plan based in research.

Showing initiative

Regardless if you get a project approval, this act can show management team initiative. Managers often look for initiative when thinking about future leaders for the company, so this can help you progress in your career. Showing initiative can also inspire others on your team to do the same with other areas they may hope to improve.

Encouraging new ideas

As many companies use trusted techniques and processes when working, proposal change allows people to think of new ideas. This might mean exploring tools, workflows, systems and more professional components that can change the way you work. Just discussing new ideas can help leadership teams think about what may be possible and how employees may be able to work better.

How to propose a change in the workplace

Here are some steps you can follow to propose a change in the workplace:

1. Detail your goals

Before proposing any changes in the workplace, it can help to define your goals and start to gather information. You might start with a top-level goal or executive summary that provides an overview on what you hope to accomplish. Listing all the relevant details can help you assess your original ideas and help you decide if you might need to adjust anything. For example, if you hope to propose a change to restructure a team, you may brainstorm team members skills, training and development costs and desired outcomes that can shape your final proposal.

Related: What Is a Change Management Plan? (With Templates)

2. Get feedback

As changes often involve several people within an organization, gathering feedback from your coworkers can be useful. You might share your plans to discuss how the changes might affect them or their teams and understand all possible outcomes. As you can include a schedule in your proposed change, you can ask them if your expected timelines are realistic and what tools you might need to achieve your goal.

Related: 9 Interview Questions About Managing Change (With Sample Answers)

3. Outline solutions

One reason why change proposals can be important is that they focus on solutions rather than problems. Outlining the solutions means sharing how your proposal can change processes or business performance for the better. Different from the goals of your proposal, your solutions can show team members how you plan to achieve your goals. These can include concrete steps that you or other members of the team might take and how long you might need to complete each step.

4. Market your ideas

Proposed changes can sometimes intimidate coworkers, so showing them why this idea is beneficial can encourage buy-in among teams. This can be especially important for employees to show management teams that they all agree a change could benefit the company. Involving your peers in the early discussions and having them test out different aspects of your proposed change can encourage people to feel excited about it and can convince others why it's a good idea.

5. Create a formal document

Formal proposals can be more effective than simply sharing ideas or discussing possibilities. You can format these as letters directed to a specific leader in the organization that can help make your plan a reality. Within the document, you can have formal headers for the summary, schedule, budget and steps to achieve your proposal. You might schedule a meeting with your supervisor to present the document formally, discuss your findings and get feedback from them.

Related: How To Write Proposals

6. Prepare for pushback

Change management is an important skill in the workplace, and you might find some colleagues or leaders are more receptive to change than others. To prepare for this, you can show teams the research you've gathered and how you think you can complete each step in this change. If a manager provides you with additional feedback, you can take this information and revise your proposal with their considerations.

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