11 steps for implementing change (plus importance and tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most organisations recognise that their outcomes remain the same when they continue using historical operation methods. Making changes can help an organisation grow. If you're a working professional looking to acquire new skills, it's beneficial for you to learn how to make long-term organisational changes. In this article, we define what implementing change is, discuss its benefits and list some steps on how to implement change in an organisation.

What is change implementation?

Taking steps for implementing change involves modifying the way you run a business. This could mean adopting new technology or software, replacing old policies or assessing employee operations. A company can implement change successfully by applying change management. This management process involves making a plan that guides employees through a period of transition. It checks employees' capacities to accept these changes and how well they can embrace them. When an organisation fully adopts change management, it benefits both the management team and the employees.

Related: Change management plans: definition, strategies and benefits

11 steps for implementing change

As a working professional, leadership skills are important when creating steps for implementing change. You can take several approaches to change implementation to ensure that you meet organisational goals. Consider the following when implementing change:

1. Expect change

The first step towards implementing change is acknowledging that modifications happen frequently in the business world. Knowing this prompts a proactive leader to source information and regularly assess the organisation's strengths and weaknesses. Typically, changes don't occur without a leader anticipating them.

As the business world is transforming rapidly, organisations that don't adapt to these changes can fall behind quickly. Good leaders are aware and always ready to face challenges. It's important for a leader to communicate with their team about their vision for change because this makes the team members feel that their opinions are significant. The objective is to ensure everyone's compliance so that the organisation can make improvements.

2. Identify areas that require change

Most organisations find this step challenging. A company can begin by identifying the kind of change it wants by critically analysing itself and making sure that new changes correspond with its goals. A company can analyse how important these changes are and decide whether they are valuable enough to take up time and resources. Different areas of the organisation may have their own goals. This step enables a company to assess the significance of a change to see if it's necessary.

Related: What is change leadership? (With benefits, tips and skills)

3. Determine the outcome of these changes

After evaluating which areas require change, a company can predict the outcomes. It can analyse the effects of each change and how they may affect employees. This provides the kind of training necessary to lessen the impact of these changes on employees. Effective communication is important at this stage to enable employees to understand the changes.

4. Communicate efficiently

Upon assessing its most affected areas, a company might consider communicating with its employees to understand its challenges and the importance of change. It can develop logical ways of communicating so that it can tackle these issues. It's important for a company to investigate the challenges that its employees face during their work to allow such employees to feel more involved. This strategy encourages employees to feel more supportive of change.

Related: A complete guide to change management communication

5. Provide a basis for the change

To secure employee involvement, a company can use appropriate data to support the idea of a proposed change. For example, presenting data, such as customer reviews or budget plans, is helpful and can involve employees in implementing changes.

6. Establish a plan

After effectively communicating the changes to all parties involved, a company can develop a plan by determining how to achieve these changes and measuring how effective they are likely to be. This helps the organisation generate a report regarding the employees a change may affect most. This plan includes scheduling training for such employees.

7. Identify barriers

When a company implements changes, it may face some barriers. For example, some employees might find it challenging to accept a change, which would slow down the implementation process. In addition, there could be issues if employee training is inadequate.

Identifying the barriers also helps you understand which areas require change. For example, a company may realise that it can only reach its goals if it purchases more working devices. There may also be problems in recruitment if the company hires employees who are not ready for change.

8. Make training and support available

Before implementing the plan, employees usually undertake suitable training. This allows them to develop the skills to function adequately in preparation for change. A company can also consider enrolling these employees in counselling classes. Some changes can result in the total remodelling of the workforce, so it's important to provide employees with support.

Related: Roles of HR in change management: plus relevant skills

9. Implement the change

After completing the preceding steps, change can now occur. Implementing change is easier if a company breaks it into stages. Consistency and continuous advancement allow employees to carry on with this change as a part of their routine. It's important for a company to look out for signs of stress and provide support if leaders notice that an employee is struggling to adjust to changes. Also, it helps to ensure that the company is well-organised during the implementation process.

10. Conduct checks

Implementing change is just one part of reforming any organisation. It's important to monitor the implementation process to ensure that employees follow the plan to achieve the expected outcomes. Tracking the change process also helps a company resolve any errors that it may not have anticipated. In addition, the tracking process allows leaders to assess outcomes more accurately. Note that the leadership team can develop the change process throughout the organisation's lifespan.

11. Evaluate the change

After implementing a change, a company can measure its success by deliberating with its teams to create a measurement guideline. It can use both quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure the impact of the change. General measurement methods include assessments, surveys, tests, activity observations and outcome tracking.

Benefits of change implementation

Organisations typically decide to adopt changes to meet a greater goal, but they sometimes face challenges when implementing them. Overcoming these challenges and striving to implement change has the following benefits:

  • Employees can easily adjust to any changes in the future. They become more receptive to change and function more efficiently.

  • The organisation sees improved working performance. When a leader implements change effectively, employees are less likely to oppose it, so managers can spend less time altering plans and trying to improve productivity.

  • It strengthens people's belief in the business. Clients begin to trust that the organisation can fully adapt to any changes that may emerge in the future.

  • The organisation sees improved collaboration. This increases receptiveness to clients, encouraging repeat purchases and patronage.

Tips for effective change implementation

The following are some tips to consider when implementing change:

  • Set achievable goals.

  • Ensure that employees and major stakeholders of the company understand the plan from the beginning. The earlier they're aware of the plan, the more prepared they feel, reducing conflict and misunderstanding.

  • Ensure that management is aware of changes first.

  • Recognise the need for constant communication and keep employees aware of any sudden changes to prevent conflicts from arising.

  • Make a backup plan to prepare for any unexpected issues.

  • Identify the pitfalls of both making and not making a change.

  • Work with employees who are eager for change, as opposing voices or opinions tend to slow down the change process. Encourage eager employees to influence sceptical ones to help them understand why it's necessary.

  • Remember that implementing change might progress slowly. When making a change suddenly, it's important to consider the amount of time employees require to become familiar with the change.

  • It's beneficial for leaders to take time off during change implementation, as the process of change may become exhausting at times.

  • Celebrate success, irrespective of how significant it is. Celebrating accomplishments makes everyone feel more motivated to continue the change process.

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