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Building the Business Case for Organizational Change Management

Business leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve their organizations and streamline processes to meet current and future business needs. Most companies are transforming or need to transform to remain competitive, be more efficient, and position themselves for growth. With change comes disruption, but even when it is positive, change can be difficult to manage. With proper organizational change management, disruptions can be minimized, and successful transformation can be achieved.

To properly build the business case for change management, it is imperative to understand the what, the why, and the how behind the rationale for any change initiative.

What is Organizational Change Management?

When an organization begins a change initiative and employees are required to change the way they do their job, there is often an effect on the way in which people behave in the workplace. Organizational change management is designed to mitigate disruption and minimize negative outcomes. Proper change management bridges the technical and people sides of transformation. Change management is built on the three C’s: communication, collaboration, and commitment. The aim is to guide employees to an understanding of the change and improve their ability to adapt to a new way of working.

Why Should Businesses Include Change Management in Their Strategic Plan?

If we learned anything during the pandemic, it’s that change is inevitable and is occurring at an unprecedented pace. In the last year, the average employee experienced 10 planned enterprise changes. From restructuring to achieve efficiencies, culture transformations to unlock new ways of working, or replacing legacy technology — changes large or small can have monumental impacts on an organization — it is critical that they be taken seriously.

Projects typically fail to deliver expected results or benefits when the people side of change is not considered. Change management, when positioned and planned correctly, helps mitigate failure rates. Companies that are highly effective at change management are three and a half times more likely to outperform industry peers.

There is one thing that is universally true: bad news does not get better with time. While a project may be positive in the long run, many employees view the change as a burden when it is first introduced or when rumors start to swirl. It is best to address any employee resistance early because the sooner people are aware of what to expect and the benefits accompanying the change, the quicker they are to adopt the change and the smoother the transition.

How Can an Organization Successfully Utilize Change Management?

Change management is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Every organization has unique business needs and goals that need to be addressed. This is important to keep in mind as challenges arise because each company will have a slightly different path to success. Encouraging people within the organization to remain open-minded and flexible is key.

Four Steps for Building the Business Case for Your Organization

1. Establish Costs. Almost all change brings disruption. Lay out what a lack of change management is costing your organization today.
2. Outline the benefits. Show how a properly managed transformation will make you more innovative, support informed-decisions, and be more effective. 
3. Determine what to measure and pick the metrics that matter. Data will show progress, where you are successful, and where you need to improve.
4. Make change work for you. Steps you take today will shape your future. Rather than leave your change to chance, show the plan for advancing your goals. 

As with most business decisions, cost is a factor. It is not necessary to hire a large number of consultants to implement successful change management strategies, and the cost of a strong change management program is lower than expenses incurred through project delays, budget overruns, loss of valued employees, decline in work quality and productivity, and new technology or processes failing to reach expected ROI.

Larger companies may benefit from bringing in a team of change management experts to partner with the project team to handle strategy for them, while other organizations may choose to leverage the help of experts to build an internal Change Management Center of Excellence.

Organizations of all sizes can benefit from building change capability internally. Leveraging existing resources to aid change management efforts can bring the tools, expertise, and competency required to thrive in a climate of ongoing change. The Avaap Change Academy TM offers workshops for individuals to build their change capacity, become certified change leads, and leverage data to inform and navigate change.

The benefits of change management are countless, yet measurable. Properly managing the impact of change on your people and processes can increase the likelihood of a successful change initiative and power your next transformation.