Best practices when implementing organizational changes
This article written by Bain & Company addresses a few key aspects in change management and is vital to any HR department.
Updated over a week ago

Some of the practices are implementing a performance evaluation process; creating a feedback and feedforward culture inside the company (or turning a feedback culture into a feedforward culture); implementing a culture of results through management based on indicators and goals; they are all examples of change management. In this article, we were inspired by a paper published by the American consultancy company Bain & Company. That said, we have created a summary of best practices focused on change. Read the original article from Bain here.

And right below you’ll find a summary of the best practices:

#1 Focus on People

Before implementing changes:

  • Make sure you’re involving as many leaders as possible in the process of establishing changes and goals so you get your buy-in (co-creation). This process should focus on how you perceive successful outcome (“what does success look like?”);

  • Help leaders prepare themselves for the process: having been co-creators is huge step towards that achievement;

  • Map impacts caused by the change process on the organizational process and label risk factors as high, medium or low;

  • Map employees most affected by the change process;

  • Create a diagram for risks and employees most affected by the processes involved, since this is where you’ll spend nearly most of your time (leaders will still require most of your attention);

  • Choose, train, and empower "sponsors" or "champions" at all company levels. Choose your sponsors from the bottom up in the company hierarchy based on who needs these changes the most (once you have identified any critical points, choose your "sponsors" one level above). Sponsors must be monitored constantly so that they do not forget about implementing the change process.

"One of the first applications of the Sponsorship Spine is a systematic Change Cascade. At each level of the organization, starting with the most senior people, management holds meetings to explain how leaders reached their decisions and to ask for input in areas where it is needed. The sponsor at each level leads the meeting, explains the change and requests feedback. Because this is done throughout the organization, it is important to ensure that everybody is touched—and that everybody hears about it from the person who matters to them most: the person with the standing to be their sponsor, typically their direct supervisor. The Change Cascade is the complete opposite of what typically happens when companies introduce a change effort: everybody in the organization tunes in for a video conference in which the CEO spells out far-reaching change plans, and when they turn to their supervisor to ask for clarification, the answer comes back: “I don’t know. I just heard it at the same time as you did."

During implementation:

  • Focus on the most impacted employees early in the change process using effective communication that enables you to explain the reasons for the changes as well as their objectives and goals;

  • Make sure you’re always communicating change from top to bottom in hierarchy. A leader should never be unable to answer a question made by an employee about the process;

  • Try to simplify the message as much as possible and repeat it tirelessly. You might feel a bit awkward about doing so, but research shows that whenever under stress caused by change, people’s attention span is severely reduced, so they will only be able to absorb a fraction of what they normally do;

  • Conveying the message about any changes should be done in the smallest groups possible (ideally in 1:1 meetings or in small groups), as well as through direct managers (in whom employees trust and with whom they are familiar)

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