by B. Leach | Sept. 11, 2023 | 5 Min Read

How to develop an organizational change management process


In the past, the average Fortune 500 company did a reorganization every 7 years. Today, it’s every 7 months—and the pace of change is only getting more rapid. To stay ahead of the competition, companies must invest in training and technologies that keep up with the times.

In our survey, Top Priorities for Global L&D Leaders in 2023, the biggest concerns organizations have in the coming year are time and skill gaps. Making changes to stay competitive will be an even more challenging endeavor if your organization is having difficulty maintaining its current state—which is why you need to become agile in the face of change.

Research by McKinsey showed that a highly successful agile transformation made organizations three times more likely to become top-quartile performers among peers. By embracing a culture of Skill Agility® and continuous improvement, companies are better equipped to respond to changing market conditions, meet customer demands, and outperform the competition.

The question becomes, “How are you managing change in your organization to ensure it’s successful?”

Change management in business is an integral part of a long-term strategy. Unfortunately, 50% of organizational change initiatives fail. If you want your organization to be part of the other 50% – those that successfully implement change – you need a change management process.

But what is change management, and what does a change management process look like? In this blog, we’ll look at change management implementation from a strategic perspective.

First, let’s define change management.

What is change management?

Change management in business refers to the structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. Implementing change management involves the application of tools, processes, skills, and principles to manage the people side of change and achieve the required business outcomes.

Change management can be applied in various situations, such as:

A change management process is about preparing for and managing successful change. This process is important because organizational change, when not managed properly, can lead to reduced productivity, resistance, confusion, and failure to achieve the intended goals.

7-step change management process

Once you can answer “What is change management?” the next question is, “How do I begin implementing it?” While every change is unique, an effective change management process should follow a common framework. This typically includes the following steps:

1. Identify a need for change

Understanding the rationale behind a proposed change is the foundational step in organizational change management. It involves recognizing the internal or external drivers prompting this transformation. Whether it's market demands, technological advancements, organizational inefficiencies, or cultural shifts, it's essential to grasp the root causes. This awareness not only provides a clear direction but also helps form the “why” behind the change, which will be communicated to stakeholders.

2. Define clear objectives

Once the necessity for change is established, the next step involves outlining the specific goals of the change initiative. By using the SMART criteria, you can ensure that the goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. A well-defined set of objectives guides the direction of the change implementation and offers a standard against which progress can be measured.

3. Engage leadership

Change initiatives often succeed or fail based on the level of engagement and commitment from senior leadership. Leaders play a pivotal role in modeling behaviors, setting the tone, and ensuring the organization's alignment with the proposed change. Their visible support, genuine involvement, and consistent communication can significantly bolster the confidence of employees, mitigating resistance and fostering a culture of acceptance.

4. Get stakeholder buy-in

When making changes, it's essential to involve the people who will be most affected. Think about it – if you're shifting the way a process works, wouldn't you want input from those who use it daily? Whether it's your employees, team leaders, or customers, their insights can be invaluable. By involving stakeholders early and understanding their perspectives, you not only get a clearer picture of potential challenges but also earn their trust and support.

5. Communicate change

Communication is at the center of change management. When changes are coming, everyone needs to be in the loop. This isn't just about sending out a company-wide email and calling it a day. It's about ensuring everyone gets the message, understands why the change is happening, and what it means for them. As you convey transitional details, address stakeholder questions during the change management process, which can help reduce resistance and ease concerns.

6. Training and support

Imagine starting a new job and not being shown the ropes—it would be pretty difficult to excel in your role, right? Similarly, when introducing changes, everyone needs the right tools and knowledge to adapt. Change management training minimizes your loss of productivity during times of transition and makes the process more manageable for everyone. With proper training, your teams will embrace change and reduce disruption.

7. Implement and monitor

Now, it’s time to implement change. But that doesn’t mean just setting things in motion and hoping for the best. Get feedback from those experiencing the changes firsthand. Real-time observations and adjustments can make the difference between a rocky rollout and a seamless transition. As you collect more data, you can gain insights into what worked, what didn't, and where improvements can be made.

Prepare for organizational change by training for it

Now that you know the answer to “What is change management, and how do I implement it?” it’s time to put this knowledge into action. Change rarely comes without resistance, so help your leaders build the skills they need to champion change with leadership and change management training.

Turn potential disturbances into team-building opportunities during times of change with Unboxed Training & Technology. Our change management training programs are packed with engaging, high-impact content to help you spread your message and gain employee buy-in.

Some change management training topics include:

  • Change scenarios
  • Setting a positive example
  • Building trust
  • Managing uncertainty
  • Addressing resistance
  • Employee engagement
  • Measuring success

When developing custom content for your organization, we keep your brand and business objectives in mind. Our team of L&D experts will work closely with you to create a change management training program that helps your organization prepare for tomorrow by embracing change today.

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