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Change Management: How to Smooth the Transition

5 min read
change management

Change, as they say, is the only constant— but that doesn’t make it easy. Organizational change is inevitable for an evolving business, but workers and managers may need time to adjust to big shifts. Change management smooths the transition process and makes sure employees feel supported. Through careful planning, communication, training, and feedback, businesses can reap all the benefits of radical transformation with minimal discomfort.

Your business has probably changed a lot in recent months, and you may be facing more changes as we look ahead. Whether you’re introducing new policies, new systems, or new departments, our guide to managing change will help you lead your team through the fray.

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What is Change Management?

No matter what kind of changes your organization needs, it is important to get employees and supervisors on board. Change management can take many different forms, but simply put, the change management definition is a structured approach to minimizing disruptions.

Management may have big ideas about where the business can improve, whether its seizing opportunities, optimizing procedures, or boosting performance. However, it is employees who must actually implement these changes and live under the new policies. Unsupported change can lower morale and reduce customer service quality.

An effective change management plan demands thoughtful analysis and execution. Employers must use foresight to anticipate problems and communication to address them. With good change management, organizational transformation is less stressful for all.

Types of Change Management HR Supports

There are three levels to manage change in a business: an individual level, an organizational level, and an enterprise level. It is important that change management HR teams take each level into account.

Individual Change Management

In order to manage change at the individual level, you must understand how people experience change and what helps them to make a successful transition. Individual creates an actionable framework for change on a personal level. For example, if your business is implementing new software, it is most important to organize training sessions to make sure all employees are able to use it. However, it is equally important to have information sessions to help workers see the benefits. Employees should not just be able to use new tech, but should also be excited to do so.

Initiative Change Management

When a business makes changes, they need to think on an interpersonal level. How is this change going to affect projects, teams, departments? What do these groups need to continue working effectively? To manage change at this level, make sure that teams have adequate support and resources, that their priorities are aligned with the organization’s, and that communication is top-tier. And, use configuration management to make sure employees have access to the tools they need.

Enterprise Change Management 

This level is for experts only! With enterprise change management, change is in theory embedded into every facet of your organization. The roles, structures, processes, and projects are fluid and able to adjust to changing situations. Agile management must down a change management methodology that works so that employees are primed to roll with the punches. This shift in organizational outlook won’t happen overnight. Reaching this level takes some serious strategy.

The Five-Step Change Management Process

What are the five steps of change management? When it comes to the change management process, HR needs to prepare for, manage, and reinforce change. Start by preparing employees for change with extensive planning and delegation. Next, manage change by supporting employees with training and communication. Finally, reinforce the change by collecting and analyzing feedback. Here are the five steps to keep you on track:

Overcoming Resistance

Change can cause stress and fear among staff members. The first step of the change management process is to make employees feel excited for and invested in the upcoming changes. Get everyone on board starting with leadership and stakeholders. Then, reach out to employees through formal information sessions and more casual one-on-ones.

Engaging Employees

Engaged employees are productive employees. Get them invested in the final goal of your project by showing the benefits of the new system. Clarify how their role will change moving forward, and focus on things they can be excited about.

Implementing Change in Phases

Introduce change slowly so there is time to address problems as they arise and for employees to adjust. If things aren’t working out quite the way you expected, be ready to alter the change model. Go slow and use change management tools to ease the transition.

Communicating Change

The most important thing is that you communicate regularly with employees about their changing responsibilities. How will their workflow change on a day-to-day basis? Management must provide support systems and training modules to help employees to adjust and then check in regularly. Supervisors can also develop a communication plan with employees, scheduling regular check-ins and performance reviews.

Request Feedback

One of the last steps to change management is to find out how new policies or big changes are landing with employees. Ask the right questions. How are they adjusting? How can the new systems be improved? You can use this data to improve your change management plan in the future.

Challenges Facing Change Management Organizational Structure

According to the Harvard Business Review, those managing change may focus on soft issues such as culture, leadership, and motivation. But there are some very real hard factors impacting the success of change. Here are some factors to consider when making a change management system:


Businesses often worry about the time it will take to implement change. They fear that if it takes too long, they will lose momentum and the changes will fail. However, researchers have found that this isn’t the case. A project is more likely to succeed with frequent reviews and check-ins. A transition may take a long time, but as long as organizations regularly schedule milestones to review progress, the project can still be a success.


Those managing change need to have excellent project management skills. Good team leaders have problem-solving skills, are methodical in their approach, and are willing to accept responsibility for their decisions. Businesses that don’t choose the right leaders to spearhead change may pay the price down the line. In short, maintaining performance integrity is key to successful change implementation.


Change best practices are to get everyone on board. It’s important to win commitment not only from influential executives but from the people who must deal with the new systems. Both these groups need support from the other to feel confident in change. According to HBR, a lack of commitment can lead a team to failure.


Be cognizant that human capital is a resource. It can thus be exhausted if overused! When enacting change, businesses need to have a firm understanding of how much work employees will have to do beyond their usual responsibilities. Be aware of what you are asking and be wary of overstretching employees. Change management organizational level requires a delicate balance.

Tips for Implementing Change Management Systems

When thinking of methodologies to manage change in your business, make sure to consider the resources available. Rather than finding a change management plan template, create an agile change management system that can be easily updated and refocused.

Change management software can give you insight into your company. Track progress with a performance management tracker and visualize your business’s inner workings with an organizational chart. Furthermore, businesses can run custom HR analytics reports to see how changes are being adopted.

Remember, managing change shouldn’t be reactive. Instead, adopt a culture that’s open to and ready for change so that your business will be equipped to tackle any challenge.

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