Managing Change to Future-Proof your Organisation

– by Dannya Hu

In Australia and across the world, there are significant changes occurring as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19. Most of us are now working from home and we’ve all got dry hands from washing them more than usual.

There are also many internal changes happening in organisations. Leaders are planning for their organisation’s future viability. Staff are being pulled off their day-to-day work to focus on COVID response related activities. Some projects and functions have stopped indefinitely, while others are being modified and adapted to a remote environment.

In this environment, managing change is particularly important.

Change management is about managing the people aspect of change, to achieve the business outcome. There are some commonly used tools, templates and techniques used by change managers, such as change management plans and change impact assessments. However, change management is about more than plans and documentation. It’s about becoming a trusted adviser and helping the business understand the adjustments required to ensure people are willing to adopt the change.

Change management ideas and principles can be applied to any circumstance where people are required to undertake new work or change the way they currently work. A good rule of thumb is to ask, “are people required to do their job differently?” and if the answer is yes, then some level of change management is required.

In the current environment of extensive and ongoing change in both our work and personal lives, it is crucial that organisations apply change management appropriately.

Employing change management principles and practices as part of your COVID-19 response and recovery planning will ease the transition of your workforce and facilitate a higher level of productivity.

Implementing Change Management will support your organisation to:

Plan for what your new ‘business as usual’ will look like

Organisations are beginning to realise that they cannot just go back to their old ‘business as usual’ when COVID-19 is over. There are wide-reaching reverberations of this pandemic, from people’s attitude, through remote working, to how cities may be designed in the future. Given this, in the next few months, organisations will need to start planning for what they need to do, to remain relevant in the post-COVID world. A crucial part of that will be effectively managing the people part of the necessary changes.

Improve communication with staff regarding impacts of COVID

Most organisations are doing the best they can, but sometimes it can be easy to forget things when you’re juggling a significant number of issues. For example, some managers might be concerned about how they can continue to keep on top of work tasks as well as the ‘pastoral care’ elements of their role while working remotely. Keeping in mind change management principles will assist managers in adapting their approach to different people in their teams.

Ensure new projects and functions are successful

Understandably, many organisations have pivoted a lot of their people towards COVID-related work. With this comes the risk of change fatigue. Change management can assist organisations in ensuring the success of these projects and functions, not just now but into the future as well.

These are just some areas where change management may be relevant for your current environment. Change management continues to be an enabler for project and program management, strategic planning, cultural change and other changes where people are involved. If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider how you can make Change work for your organisation.