What is Organizational Change Management (OCM)?
The primary focus of OCM is creating a management framework to effectively implement new business processes and changes within the organizational structure. However, making a positive impact is only possible when the attitude and behavior of individuals reflect that positivity. The resulting team culture can be effectively managed with a robust OCM strategy, as it is the catalyst for performance improvement and organizational transformation.
These elements can be difficult to influence, but they play a critical role in the success and adoption of change. OCM provides you with the processes, tools, and techniques you need to manage the people side of change.
Why Invest in OCM?
- Increases understanding of and preparation for the benefits of change
- Builds the team’s proficiency and creates an appetite for continuous improvement by identifying and addressing training needs, soliciting feedback, etc.
- Increases probability of staying on or ahead of project schedule by 5x
- More likely to achieve project objectives by 6x
- Helps build change competency into the organization
Best Practices to Execute an OCM Strategy
Build an OCM Team with Specialized Skills
An effective OCM team will have communications and enablement expertise, and utilize a technical implementation partner network. Keep in mind:
- You’ll need strong leadership support to build this broad expertise and ensure that OCM is not overlooked or put on the back burner.
- It will be beneficial to define what success looks like and how team members will achieve it.
Research the Context of Your Change
It is critical to maintain an in-depth knowledge of your organization, including your team, dynamics, and any elements affected by your organizational change. Therefore, before you begin, ensure you:
- Identify the stakeholders who will be affected.
- Assess the readiness for or resistance to change. This step will determine how you tailor your plan.
- Analyze and address the risks the change might bring.
Build out Your OCM Plan
Leverage what you learned through your research, and document a plan to help your organization adapt to a new way of working. Your change plan should:
- Identify what is changing, for whom, and when it will change
- Document how stakeholders should prepare for the change (i.e., complete training, communications with team members, etc.)
- Develop a communication plan tailored to your stakeholders’ needs to ensure they are aware of and committed to the change
Execute the Organizational Change
After building your OCM plan, it is now time to execute. Using a change management plan can mean the difference between a successful or failed project. When implementing significant changes, such as digital transformation, it is helpful to follow popular change management models such as Kotter’s theory and the Prosci ADKAR ® Model.
Over time, be sure to reinforce change. Collect and analyze feedback, diagnose gaps, manage resistance, implement corrective feedback, and celebrate successes.
Organizations Facing OCM Challenges: How Best to Approach Initiatives
There can be several challenges that come up during OCM implementation. Employees and end users specifically may react positively or negatively to a new ERP initiative. Here are a few possible OCM issues:
Discomfort With Change
One of the challenges you may encounter while implementing an OCM strategy is not having open dissent. While defining new business processes and determining how operations in your organization will look in the future, there may be withholding of information. It is natural for individuals to want to “protect their turf” and believe they are protecting their jobs. After all, 98% of change-related critical success factors depend on people, so it’s imperative to get employees on board.
It is helpful to ask questions to determine the source of discomforts like these. For example, are employees worried about losing their jobs? Do they believe they will be less valuable to the company? Is it because this new system automates their processes?
Project Fatigue or Competing Team Priorities
New projects can often feel exciting and energizing. However, that initial drive to complete the project is often unsustainable through to the finish line. When team members lose interest or focus, the results could be disastrous.
Internal teams often compete for the same resources (time, money, or people), acting as a catalyst for resistance to change.
The team leader should develop a teaming mindset within the organization. Success should be painted as something shared and expansive. Leaders should go out of their way to sell the upside of collaborative work to their team. In a recent study, 76% of CEOs said their ability to adapt to change would be a key competitive advantage. Encouraging their team members is critical to accomplish the necessary work to implement the required changes strategically.
Lack of Integrated Change Management
Unfortunately, in many instances, OCM is added after the project has experienced obstacles. As a result, your project may not be successful because you have waited too long.
Project management and OCM activities are most effective when integrated. Once united, solutions will be designed, developed, and delivered effectively from a technical perspective and embraced, adopted, and utilized effectively on the people side.
There should be a balance between project management and OCM. Then, depending on the size and complexity of the project, determine:
- How much project management is needed?
- How much change management is needed?
Remember, organizations rarely change at the end of the day, but the people within them often do. Therefore, when building an OCM strategy, it is essential to remember to address possible resistance. This can be done by creating a safe place to share, assuring your employees that their jobs are secure and that the upcoming changes will only make them more effective at their job. Change at any point can be complex, so ensure your OCM strategy is buttoned up so your business can thrive.
Want to learn more about ERP and end-user training? Click here for Part II.
Prosci 2020 Benchmarking Data from 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
TEC team. (2021). ERP Systems Examples: Tiers & Industry-Specific Solutions. Retrieved from technologuevaluation.com: https://www3.technologyevaluation.com/research/article/erp-system-examples.html
Valène Jouany & Kristina Martic. (2020, July 23). 5 Change Management Models to Take a Look At. Retrieved from smarp.com: https://blog.smarp.com/5-change-management-models-to-take-a-look-at