Ron Yoshimura

Changes within an organization happen all the time and can be small incremental changes or major transformational changes, such as implementing new technologies, creating or growing a new department, and facilitating mergers. Changes can be challenging, but they can also be great opportunities for organizational growth, efficiency gains, and company prosperity.

Organizational Change Management (OCM), a method for managing the impact of new technologies or business processes on an organization, helps companies embrace changes and growth in an organized and structured framework as well as adopt innovative technologies with predictable and replicable results. To successfully implement changes using OCM, it is critical the entire organization is prepared and supportive. For this to happen, all members of the organization must understand three key components:

  1. What is the Change
  2. Why the Change is needed
  3. How the Change will benefit and impact their work

This article lays out the steps of an effective OCM methodology that can be implemented by your organization to successfully drive change.

Understand the Scope of Change

Successful OCM incorporates the complete adoption and support of new transformational technologies or business processes. An important goal for a company’s OCM team is to ensure that the enterprise is prepared, informed, and supports the change.

To accomplish these goals and understand the impact of the change on the organization, the scope of the change or transition must be clearly understood by the OCM team. This knowledge will help the team determine the amount of change management needed. Once the scope is fully realized, arrangements or allowances should be considered that enable employees to continue with uninterrupted production as the new business process or technology is implemented.

Plan for Change

An implementation plan should be developed ahead of the change that includes discrete tasks and milestones in their proper sequence in addition to task dependencies. Larger transformational projects have shown it is beneficial to break up larger tasks into smaller subtasks that can be completed in a shorter timeframe. 

The plan should also include the goals of the new business processes, performance indicators, and success measures as well as identify all impacted stakeholders. As the plan is implemented, managers can assess the progress and adjust the plan as needed. 

Shown below are the five steps of an effective OCM:

Figure 1 OCM Process Overview

Document the Current State

Effective change management engages stakeholders at all levels and builds support within the organization by helping stakeholders understand why changes are needed and how OCM can help build support for the changes. 

To fully understand how the change will affect stakeholders, a work baseline should be established for impacted stakeholders and business. How do employees currently work? What do their daily business practices look like? To determine these baselines, end users should first be grouped into roles by the work they perform. This step has the added benefit of identifying training needed for the change by role. 

Organizations can establish current state baselines through the following ways:

Stakeholder Interviews

Stakeholder interviews should be conducted to understand how employees currently work in order to completely recognize how the change will affect employees. As an additional advantage, stakeholders will become more supportive of the change as they become engaged in and take ownership of certain aspects of the change process. This will help them embrace the new technology or business process and feel prepared and supported throughout the transition.

Business Process Flows

Detailed step-by-step process flow diagrams should be developed for all common business processes – from workflow initiation to closure. Swim lanes should be used to identify the users or groups by role involved in the business process.

Figure 2 Sample Business Process Workflow

Document the Future State 

The current state business processes should be examined using the new technology or business process. Under this lens, detailed process flow diagrams should be developed for the business processes that were identified in the current state. The future state process flows should document the new skills and knowledge needed to perform each business process. Leveraging these flows, the OCM team can identify how ready employees are for the changes in work process as well as target risk areas and any resistance to the changes.

OCM – An Example 

During a future-state business process mapping for ADMS model updates for an electric utility, new applications and business processes were identified along with training focus areas for the new tools and processes by user groups, as shown in the figure below.

Figure 3 OCM example for ADMS model updates

Develop the Change Plan

With a clear understanding of the current state business processes and the future state business processes, a detailed change plan can be developed that clearly distinguishes the differences between the processes. The deltas within the plan will indicate training opportunities for the next stage.

Provide Timely Training

A comprehensive OCM training plan can be developed leveraging the new skills and knowledge identified for each business process in the change plan. Training should be scheduled right before the new technology or business process is implemented so that the new skills are fresh. 

Rollout and Support

For a successful rollout and knowledge transfer, it is crucial the OCM team understands the full scope of the changes and training required to support the new technology or business process. With this knowledge, the OCM team can anticipate roadblocks and attempt to mitigate any resistance to change.

The OCM team’s help with support and training throughout the engagement can help encourage employees to transition instead of reverting to the old process or technology. 

Communicate the Change

Effectively communicating changes throughout the process is vital to a successful OCM and rollout. Communications should be clear and concise, especially for announcements directed at employees who will be most affected by the changes.

Notifications of the upcoming changes should be made to all levels of the company and announced at specific intervals, such as one month, two weeks, and one-week marks. These communication intervals should be discussed with the business owners, as this is a balancing act between notifying the business of upcoming changes and inundating employees with communications. 

Manage the Change for Organizational Success

A successful technology or business process rollout begins and ends with a well-planned OCM. For an OCM to be effective, it is vital the organization is prepared for the change and supportive throughout the process. The established OCM team can streamline the implementation process by guiding the organization throughout the process, helping with transition support and training, and identifying any issues with the technology adoption before the implementation. 

Whether a big or small change, organizations can apply OCM to their business to ensure success as they grow and modernize.

Contact UDC to see how Organizational Change Management can be applied to your business for streamlined implementations. 

  • 1 year at UDC / 36 years in GIS

    Ron Yoshimura

    Principal Consultant for UDC, Ron brings his experience with developing and implementing enterprise software solutions to UDC's electric, gas, and water clients.

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