Updated: Mar 29
Nicole Deveau, Principal and National Leader of Human Capital Management at Grant Thornton LLP, defines change management and outlines its value for your business—and your people.
Change is a constant for all business owners. The ability to adapt and evolve in order to attract new talent, maintain profitability, and improve the customer experience is important for success.
What often gets overlooked is how the process of moving through transformations can impact an organization’s people. How will they react to the change and move through the change acceptance process? How can a business owner empower their team to embrace and drive change, rather than passively accepting it?
What is change management?
Change management is a research-based discipline that guides how we prepare, equip, and support people to navigate a change effectively and achieve success. As a structured approach, it supports people throughout all stages of anticipated change.
Why is change management important?
Organizations and leaders often underestimate the impact that change has on their people. Everyone goes through the change process—understanding change, understanding its impact, accepting or resisting it—at a different pace and therefore will respond differently.
An integrated change-management program can build key elements of successful transformation among employees:
awareness of the reasons for the change
productivity and work quality
speed of adoption
visible engagement with the process
successful implementation of new programs or practices
Change might involve creating new positions and reporting structures within the organization, implementing new health plans, downsizing teams, using technology to create a more efficient workforce, reengineering a process to improve operational efficiencies, or pursuing a business-wide transformation affecting customer experience.
Regardless of the scope of change, your organization’s initiatives impact how people do their work—and how they feel about it. This includes processes, job roles, workflows, reporting structures, behaviours and identities.
It’s important to implement proper and proven change-management techniques that engage and empower people for a successful transition. This, in turn, will help drive adoption and use of new processes to deliver desired results and outcomes.
What are some considerations in successful change management?
Organizational changes often meet requirements without delivering expected results—the outputs take priority over the outcomes. Focusing on the people who bring the change to life in their day-to-day work will close the gap between the solution itself and the solution’s benefits.
Projects with strong change-management components are more likely to deliver on objectives when leaders are mindful of the three phases of any effective change initiative: preparing, managing, and reinforcing.
It’s also beneficial to assess your business’s change readiness when you are planning to initiate change. This assessment helps to identify gaps in planning to best support your business and its people throughout the process.
Regardless of the nature of change, your organization’s people must ultimately do their jobs differently. If they aren’t successful in personal transitions and don’t embrace and learn a new way of working, the initiative will be less likely to succeed.
Implementing a solid change-management program requires adequate project resources and leaders who understand the importance and key principles of successful change management. These factors are indicators of success:
Employees feel prepared, equipped, and supported in the change process.
Projects are more likely to meet objectives.
Projects are more likely to stay on schedule and budget.
People-dependent returns on investment are captured.
By Nicole Deveau, Principal, Grant Thornton
Contact Nicole to learn more about the practical benefits of change management and how it can help drive your business’s goals.
Nicole Deveau, MPA, Change Management Prosci Certified Principal and National Leader—Human Capital Management.
Nicole Deveau oversees the delivery of Grant Thornton’s business consulting solutions to clients across Atlantic Canada. Nicole focuses on people, culture, and change solutions, as well as recruitment, human resource strategy, project management, and outsourced HR support—just to name a few. Her main priority for her clients is to help build a workforce and an organization that is engaged and capable of driving business growth. Nicole and her team have the expertise to help businesses solve both their simplest challenges and their most complex problems. Contact her at Nicole.Deveau@ca.gt.com or +1 902 835 5601.