What Is the Best Way to Implement Change In an Organization?
Organizational change is defined as how an organization changes from one state of affairs to another. These changes are caused by changes in an environment and require a response by changing the organization’s structure, procedures, strategies, policies, culture, or technology. However, efforts to implement organizational changes often encounter problems and fall short of success, if not outright failing.
So what is the best way to successfully implement changes in an organization? While there is no one perfect way that is suitable for every organization, good organizational change management (OCM) strategy paired with an effective CRM will allow you to navigate an organizational change process.
What Is Organizational Change Management?
Broadly speaking, organizational change management refers to anything you do to prepare your business for major changes that will occur. Anything you do that will support the people in your organization while they adapt to the changes can be considered as organizational change management.
At its best, OCM can address the complications that arise during transition periods, without disrupting the flow of your business or causing issues with your people. It’s a systematic approach that can address both the organizational and human parts of change. One example of successful change management can be seen with Google.
In 2015, Google split up into different companies to better manage their diverse projects and interests. Co-founder Larry Page decided to deconstruct the conglomerate, so each business unit can focus on their unique goals and ambitions. However, they would still be owned by an umbrella corporation called Alphabet.
Page made it clear to his employees that the change will allow them to pursue their projects while increasing their responsibilities, since they will be managing their own income and expenses. The change was welcomed since it was communicated effectively, with the benefits being clear to the employees.
Roadblocks to Productivity: Why Change Is Necessary
There are many reasons why businesses need to implement changes. As seen in the cases above, it may be due to internal conflicts, differing goals, or a simple need to overhaul embedded practices. Other common problems that need to be resolved by well-managed change include external crisis, inefficient processes, departmental misalignment, technological disruption, and a change-resistant workplace.
- External crisis and pressure: Drastic changes have been caused by crises such as the 9/11 attacks, the 2008 global recession, and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Industries and organizations must adapt to these changes in order to survive. External pressures such as competition, government regulations, financial markets, and other factors may have a similar effect on businesses.
- Inefficient processes: Market research firm IDC found that companies lose 20% – 30% revenue yearly due to inefficiencies. Some companies try to force applications, tools, and systems even when they aren’t working, which hampers their operations in the long-run.
- Departmental misalignment: When the people in your company pursue goals and agendas that are incongruent with each other, you are suffering from departmental misalignment. A change effort is required if your company’s departments aren’t advancing a common, single purpose.
- Technological disruption: When new technology enters the scene and drives efficiency and productivity, they sweep away previous systems and habits. Change project management is needed to supervise the adoption of new technology through consistent training and testing.
- Change-resistant workplace: Since people are often resistant when changes are introduced, you are bound to encounter difficulties when trying to improve or scale your business. Resistance takes a troublesome number of forms, including a reduction in output, increase in resignations or requests for transfer, and arguments on why the changes will not work.
Since changes are inevitable, learning how to manage them is a necessary practice for every business, whether large or small.
How Organizational Management Can Improve Your Business
Aside from being able to prepare your company for times of change, transitions with organizational change management reap other rewards as well. In their research on change management, Google found that well-prepared change programs can deliver a 135% positive ROI and result in a more fulfilling workplace. OCM can improve your business by increasing employee motivation, anticipating challenges, and identifying new areas for opportunities.
- Increasing employee motivation: Proper OCM shows employees that their concerns will be addressed and that company leadership is proactive. Before your business campaigns for any change, it must first be carefully researched then promoted. Employees also expect to hear the reason why the change process is being implemented. Once these actions are visible, employees will be more excited to achieve the company’s goals.
- Anticipating challenges: As you prepare to implement organizational changes, it is likely that you will discuss any future challenges your company will encounter. Companies will have an easier time undergoing any transition if they know what to expect. When you anticipate challenges, you can also develop solutions or plans to resolve them.
- Identifying opportunities: Organizational change efforts will help you identify areas that work and areas that need adjustments. As companies support their employees through a changing business landscape, the employees become equipped to help the business expand as they learn new skills and exercise their creativity.
Finding The Right Change Management Strategy
While organizational change management sustains the health of your business, delivering organizational change is difficult. According to research conducted by McKinsey, “70% of complex, large-scale change programs don’t reach their stated goals”. Some common problems they identified are:
- Lack of employee engagement
- Inadequate management support
- Poor or nonexistent cross-functional collaboration
- Lack of accountability
And even if you successfully implement the change, McKinsey notes that sustaining the change’s impact would require a change in each employee’s mindset and behaviors. In order to get results, company leadership will require a vision, a large budget, and a set of special talents.
Another component you will need to guide your transformation initiative is an effective change management strategy. A change project management strategy is a mechanism that minimizes the negative effects that change brings, while capitalizing on this change as well. Common OCM strategies are constant communication, incentive proposals, and “change champions”.
1) Constant communication
To attain the great results from your employees, you have to communicate why and how changes will happen with your employees. It’s impossible to assume that every employee will agree with the change initiative the company is proposing. You have to explain why the change is important, what benefits can be expected from it, and what setbacks may affect them.
Before you begin implementing changes, look for feedback from your employees and use it to realign your plans as needed. Open team meetings where everyone can discuss questions and suggestions are a good way to keep everyone on the same page. A strategy of constant communication can go a long way to keep employee morale high.
2) Incentive proposals
Another popular change management strategy is to offer incentives or recognize employees who engage with the company’s changes. This is based on the assumption that they will follow their own self-interests. Recognition programs and rewards that reinforce certain actions or values can help employees buy into the changes.
Keep in mind that this does not necessarily refer to monetary incentives. Studies consistently show that money is often not the ultimate incentive for many employees. Find a way to express your company’s gratitude towards your employees during this period of transition.
3) Change champions
Since radical change is bound to meet with a degree of resistance from your employees, you can improve employee perception by recruiting frontline employees to speed up worker buy-in. Your change champions should belong with the workers, rather than upper management. They can expound to their colleagues why the changes are necessary, collect feedback, and disseminate information about the planned initiatives.
You can also create change champions by introducing change efforts to only one section of the business first. This will allow you to compare the differences in productivity, morale, finances, and other factors, while letting your change leaders experience the transformation firsthand.
The Role of CRM in Change Management
While there are many frameworks and strategies available about organizational change management, there is an overlooked tool for change management. Customer relationship management (CRM) technology can assist you in rethinking and planning your company’s approach towards change. CRM software can help you design and execute an effective OCM plan.
What is CRM?
CRM software is a platform that allows organizations to manage their customer data. However, that is just its basic function. CRMs can be tailored to industry-specific features or more general ones such as customer support, sales marketing, and information storage.
With CRM, you will have information on every interaction that every customer has made with your business. CRM databases are equipped to track customers’ personal details and contact details. They are also capable of storing information such as the items/services purchased, the dates when a customer made a purchase, their preferred payment method, and so on.
With CRM, you can learn more about your customers and build better relationships with them. CRM will also help you improve your services and attract more people to your business.
What Are the Features of CRM?
When CRM technology started to be used by businesses, it primarily assisted sales teams in storing important customer information. However, CRM platforms have grown since then to accommodate beyond sales. CRM functions are now used for marketing, customer services, quality assurance, manufacturing, human resources, accounting, and more. A modern CRM software is equipped to do the following tasks:
- Provide real-time customer data and history
- Identify, score, and move leads down the pipeline
- Create accurate customer profiles
- Automate workflow actions
- Personalize customer service
- Track employee activity and performance
- Monitor social media mentions of a company
- Report, analyze, and forecast sales numbers
How To Use CRM For Change Management
The ultimate goal of CRM is to align departmental capabilities in order to increase customer retention, customer loyalty, and revenues. CRM software allows companies to share and extract data from one source, while automating administrative processes that ordinarily take too long. Overall, CRM encourages collaboration in a business and gives the business room to grow. Here are three ways CRM can help you in managing change:
1) CRM enables internal collaboration
With CRM, you can reorganize and restructure your company so that your departments work collaboratively. Strategic CRM software allows your organization to collect, store, and manage customer information across multiple teams. CRM software can smoothly organize the sales and purchase history, marketing preferences, customer service contact, and technical support of customer interactions. This can help your team work in unison, without spending too much time asking and following-up with each other on the data they need.
2) CRM automates administrative work
If your sales management team is more concerned with day-to-day administrative tasks rather than focusing their efforts on strategic activities, CRM will keep them from wasting precious time. Aside from collecting data, CRM software can:
- Analyze and prepare reports
- Sync inboxes and calendars
- Visualize the sales process
Basic CRM functions will save time, prevent errors, and streamline processes for your people.
3) CRM manages your sales process
The data you collect from CRM can give you a better framework for operation. Instead of being limited by a static view of what your sales, talent acquisition, or production processes look like, you can track performance in real-time.
With customizable CRM pipelines, it’s easier to change even the most complex processes based on live results. You can also identify which members of your team deserve incentives or require additional training. CRM software will show you the gaps in your sales process so you can allocate the right resources for continued improvement.
Ease Into Organizational Change With Commence CRM
Implementing change for any organization is a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone. CRM can help you identify the gaps in your organization while improving customer experiences and relationships.
Lighten the burden of managing change initiatives. Book a demo with Commence CRM today.