How to Handle the Changing Role of Change Management

Is it time for a change? Think about that question, carefully. Change can be amazing. It can give you a new perspective on life, or in this case your business or organization. Out with the old and in with the new. It’s an exhilarating experience that will make things better. Right? Well, that’s not always the case. Change can often make things worse, leaving you wishing you could go back in time.

The process of change is usually not easy, either. It takes time, effort, diligence, learning, and acceptance. So when it comes time to consider making a change – no matter what it is you want to change – consider the entire process before you dive in.

That includes determining the changes you make to your organization such as tools, systems, techniques, and processes. But just as important, it also includes how those changes will affect everyone in the organization. And that is where “change management” comes into play.

Definition of Change Management

According to, “Change management is a structured approach for ensuring that changes are thoroughly and smoothly implemented and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved.”

And according to, “Change management incorporates the organizational tools that can be utilized to help individuals make successful personal transitions resulting in the adoption and realization of change.”

The Important Role of Change Management

Change management is vital to any organization that implements major changes. These types of major changes, like implementing a new IT system, for example, have a huge impact on everyone involved. Big changes require both project management and change management to be successful.

But even if you manage to implement a new process or program, it will only be as successful to the degree people in the organization accept it. That’s why helping people learn to adapt, accept, and embrace the changes will ultimately determine the success of those changes. And that’s why change management is so important.

How Change Management Is Changing

So what does it take to learn change management? Does it require specially trained individuals? Does your organization need to hire a change management consultant to get through a major change? It all depends on how your organization is set up. But the reality is, your managers should be prepared to help both the project and the employees move forward. Every business project involves change, which means every project manager needs to learn and understand change management. But change management itself is changing. That means many managers are being forced to take on new roles in their companies or organizations.

Data-Driven Change Management

One of the biggest changes to change management is how data and technology are influencing the workplace. More and more, organizations are learning new ways to implement changes and how they manage those changes. Amazing new digital tools help make changes more meaningful. They also help companies and individuals survive and adapt to those changes.

This is vital because in this age companies have to move so much quicker. They face constant changes and yet they must deliver rapid results and sustainable growth. Organizations can’t afford to take three to five years to see how new programs or initiatives work out. They have to see results fast and always be ready to adapt to the latest trends. All while helping employees accept and embrace these continuing changes.

Change is inevitable. Every company or organization must go through it. The key to navigating change successfully is effective change management.

Managers Must Learn Change Management.

So what is the role of change management and who is responsible to lead it when organizations implement changes?

Change Management is Key – the reality is without change management, most attempts at change will fail. In fact, according to research from McKinsey and Company, as much as 70 percent of change programs don’t achieve their stated goals. But that failure is not due to project management. Most change programs fail because of employee resistance and/or a lack of support from management. On the flip side, further research from McKinsey and Company, shows that change is 30 percent more likely to last when people are fully invested in it. And with business moving at the speed of light, being able to master the ability of change management is a huge advantage in the competitive workplace. The bottom line, getting people on board with the constant changes that occur will be the key factor in your success rate.

Managers Must Lead –Everyone in a given organization plays a role in change management. But ultimately the brunt of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the managers. According to numerous studies by, the overriding factor in helping employees accept change is having “a person whom employees look to, overwhelmingly more than anyone else in the organization, to understand how a change or initiative will affect their day-to-day work.”

Change managers have to be sure that this person is on board with the changes. This person must also have the ability and power to lead their employees in meeting the change objectives. So who is this person? It’s the manager. Managers must lead the way. And here’s what they can do to achieve the greatest positive effect.

    • Communicate with employees directly to share reports about the change
    • Always show support for the change
    • Coach, motivate and encourage employees through the change
    • Engage with the project team and provide continuing support
  • Identify resistance and help manage it

HR Must Help – That being said, managers need help from HR. It’s crucial to call upon your HR department and empower them to help you train and encourage employees to adopt important changes. Here’s how HR can help:

    • They can effectively manage change, which helps reduce or eliminate disruption to the workforce.
    • They can coach and communicate with employees and help them through the change.
    • They can create steps in the process and ensure sufficient resources are available by helping conduct the initiative.
    • They can help form an acquisition committee with the appropriate department leads to ensure everyone is working in sync.
  • They can be someone employees can turn to, to explain how the transition will affect them and be able to explain the steps involved when someone is unsure. They can also make sure that employees clearly understand their roles.

Effective Change Management Is the Key

Change is inevitable. Every company or organization must go through it. The key to navigating change successfully is effective change management. By learning to manage change your organization can successfully grow and continue to prosper. It takes a concerted group effort led by the managers, with help from HR. But when implemented properly, everyone wins.