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Successful change management: where do you start?

When you want to implement (major) changes in your organisation, you may quickly encounter resistance. That is why it is important to actively involve the entire organisation in the changes. Because only when you have your employees on board you will achieve success. So how do you do that? How do you ensure truly successful change management? Joris Henrotay is a Belgium regional manager at Infoland. In this article, he explains how to involve employees in change management in an accessible way using Zenya BOOST.

We live in a rapidly changing world. Perhaps the term ‘VUCA world‘ is not completely unfamiliar to you. “The most successful companies and organisations bet on innovation and can respond quickly to change. But dealing with those changes is a huge challenge for employees and management,” Joris explains. He has now worked at Infoland for more than five years and speaks to clients on a daily basis about the challenges of change. “Besides having to comply with all kinds of laws and regulations in the rapidly changing world, you also want to get your employees on board and inform them in such a way that it all remains manageable.”

As a company or organisation, you have to accept that there will always be changes – the only constant is change. The chances that your good idea of today will still work in 10 years’ time are very slim. Factors such as global changes, staff turnover and movements in the market force you to always keep evolving and innovating. To do this, it is important that you create enough support and get as many people in your organisation on board with those changes – whether it is big or small. The more people are behind a change, the better it can be implemented and will be successful.

What is change management?

Let’s take a look at the definition of change management: “Change management is a form of management that deals with changing the structure and/or way of working in an organisation.” (Source: Wikipedia). Good change management is therefore a necessity in today’s VUCA world. Successful change management is based on four core principles:

  • Understanding change;
  • Plan change;
  • Implement change;
  • Communicate change.

Joris: “Especially for that last step, Zenya BOOST was developed. BOOST is a handy change management tool that allows you to put current issues on the map and involve employees in change. Suppose a large manufacturing company receives a number of complaints about packaging that was not properly sealed. Then part of the production process has to be changed. In such a situation, there are many employees who need to be informed and kept informed about this. With Zenya BOOST, you can set up campaigns and ensure greater support by creating context and understanding. This is much more efficient than putting up loose posters, emails and Microsoft Teams meetings.’’

What are the five elements of change?

There are several models when it comes to change management. No single model is perfect, of course. “I also often see in practice that organisations combine several change management models to manage change. One of the models we regularly see is Knoster’s model,” Joris says. Knoster’s model comprises five elements:

  • Vision;
  • Support;
  • Plan;
  • Resources;
  • Competencies
  1. Vision

Without a clear vision, you cannot create a plan of action. The vision must be interpreted by all departments and colleagues within your organisation. In your vision, you explain why a certain change is necessary. This way, employees will better understand why certain choices are made.

  1. Support

Support is essential. Because if there is no one within the organisation who understands and wants to embrace the change(s), you will meet resistance. Start with a few stakeholders. They can then bring other employees along and explain the change. You should also make sure there is room for feedback. Is something not going well in the process? Then people should be able to hold each other accountable for it.

  1. Plan

Structure around the changes. Who performs which task? Who is responsible and authorised? By proceeding in this way and formulating a clear plan, you ensure clarity and everyone knows what is expected of them. This allows different departments and stakeholders to implement the change in a structured way.

  1. Resources

This is not just about money. Koster’s model includes all the resources people need to do their jobs well. Think of a pleasant (hybrid) workplace, materials, support services such as the IT and marketing departments, and so on. Are these resources not in order during the change process? Then your colleagues may get frustrated and the change is less likely to succeed.

  1. Competencies

The last element is about the skills of all the people in your organisation. It is about knowledge as well as experience. You want people to be confident that even after the change, they still have the right competences to do their job well.

If you do not take all five elements into account, you will find it harder to achieve results. Employees are then more likely to get frustrated or worried about the consequences of the change. If one of the elements is missing, according to Knoster’s model, the chance of success in the change process decreases.

How do you apply change management?

Organisations often have complex structures with different departments, locations and types of people at different levels. How do you get them all on board? Business expert John Kotter’s roadmap can help.

The first three stages of the model create the right climate for change – you can actually see this in Knoster’s five-stage model as well. Steps 4 to 6 of Kotter’s model connect the whole organisation and involve them in the process. The last two steps of the change model focus on implementing and consolidating the change.

The power of the group

In this article, we already mentioned some models and phases of change management. Joris emphasises that Zenya BOOST can play a big role in successful change management. He explains: “The module was created by listening carefully to our customers’ needs. BOOST is about creating support and understanding. If your colleagues understand why a certain topic is important and what is expected of them, they will be more inclined to cooperate. Because employees can also use the tool to engage in dialogue with each other, you let the power of the group work.”

Joris continues, “Zenya BOOST is a great addition to our already existing quality and risk management software. It focuses on the human aspect of our software package more. You get people on board with changes and keep them on their toes to follow existing and proven protocols, practices and behaviours.”

“In successful change management, besides having to comply with all kinds of laws and regulations, you mainly want to get employees on board and take them along step by step. If your colleagues understand why a certain topic is important and what is expected of them, they will be more likely to cooperate.”

Joris Henrotay, Belgium regional manager at Infoland

Joris Henrotay - QHSE adviseur - Zenya by Infoland

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