What Is A Change Management Plan? (And How To Develop One)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 October 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.

Creating a change management strategy can help an organisation go through various changes efficiently. Regardless of the company's area of activity, implementing a change management strategy can directly impact its ability to adapt to new situations. If you work in a managerial role or a related position, learning about change management strategy can be helpful. In this article, we define the change management plan, explain how it functions and how to develop one, discuss its components, share its importance and provide examples of successful change management strategies.

What Is A Change Management Plan?

A change management plan is a written sequence of steps that are important for an organisation to take to help ensure that any change it undergoes has minimal impact on the company, its customers, employees and key stakeholders. Typically, a change management team oversees and manages its implementation. It is usually important when a company's strategy undergoes significant and complex changes in operations that demand a comprehensive analysis and a multifaceted approach to check for as little disruption as possible.

Related: What Is Project Planning? (How To Create A Project Plan)

How Do Change Management Plans Work?

When a company launches a major initiative or new project, it is important for them to develop change management strategies. It generally comprises steps designed to assist all parties in implementing and assimilating the change quickly and naturally. Typically, the execution of change management strategies involves three phases:

  • Preparing for the change: Analyse what the right strategy is after the change implementation.

  • Managing the change: Incorporate the new practices into the overall strategy.

  • Reinforcing the change: Strengthen the change through various analyses and compliance mechanisms.

Related: What Is Management? Definition, Functions And Levels

Importance Of A Change Management Strategy

The key benefits of implementing a change management strategy in an organisation are:

  • Thoroughly analyses why the change is important and the impact it can create

  • Quantifies and manages the various costs associated with the change and helps ensures that the organisation's budget is ready for the change

  • Having properly defined all the essential steps and actions helps reduce the time requirements for change implementation

  • Includes a communication strategy that informs all the involved groups, including employees, clients and stakeholders, of the upcoming changes, helping them understand and support the change process

  • Facilitates internal cooperation, as everyone is aware of the work important to do to implement the change fast and efficiently

  • Helps the business run as efficiently as possible during change implementation, keeping productivity at optimum levels

  • Addresses any risk linked with the change

  • Reduces the possibility of the change not having the intended positive consequences by effectively responding to any potential challenge

Related: 8 Types Of Management Models (Importance And Advantages)

Components Of Change Management Strategy

The key components of a plan for change management are:

Major goals

The primary component of a change management strategy is the major goals it wants to accomplish. Generally, the two primary objectives are to raise awareness of the change throughout the organisation and to assist the personnel responsible for implementing the change. During and after the change implementation, measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) can evaluate the achievement of these two objectives.

Communication method

Communication can have a significant role in the success of executing the change, as it can help employees, customers and other stakeholders understand the change's grounds and objectives. Effective communication can assist a business in addressing any concerns of its participants or those it affects. It can also help answer questions and highlight any deletions by the organisation. Proper communication can also entail a regular, clear, consistent flow of information throughout the process.

Employee training

Training and education can help the change management team learn how to adapt, which can ease their transition. To train the group, the organisation can hold educational sessions or arrange special meetings to discuss the change and how it may affect the stakeholders. It may also be helpful if the organisation provides post-training support to help employees apply their newly gained skills and knowledge. The organisation may also provide training materials to assist employees in adjusting to workplace changes.

Resistance management

Resistance management can help an organisation address any objections from stakeholders. People may require time to adjust to a new environment or culture, especially if they are habitual to the previous one. A successful change plan incorporates resistance management strategies. An organisation may consider including the following in the resistance management strategies:

  • Conveying the change

  • Training employees to contribute

  • Building a feedback loop for the plan

  • Creating a leadership team

How To Develop A Change Management Strategy?

Here are the steps you can follow when creating a management plan:

1. Set clear goals

The first step of developing the plan involves defining the goals. When setting goals, it is important to:

  • Comprehend the changes and their effects on the organisation, employees and clients

  • Create a plan to inform employees of the changes, how to execute them and their responsibilities during the change

  • Specify key performance indicators with precise metrics that show the plan's effectiveness and expected success

Related: What Is Change Management And Why Is It Important?

2. Select a change management team

After defining the objectives, consider selecting a team to execute the plan. Identifying the resources necessary to implement and maintain the changes is also crucial. Prior to selecting a team, it may be essential that the plan has the consent of the major stakeholders. Typically, the selected team members have the skills and knowledge to oversee the plan's execution. They may also explain the plan to other members of the organisation and address any objections.

Before proceeding with the plan, delegate responsibilities to team members so they are aware of their roles. Some team members can be management personnel and subject matter experts.

Related: A Guide On How To Build A Team That Is Strong And Successful

3. Develop the plan

The recently developed plan serves as a guide for defining the change procedure. Document the plan, budget and available resources to improve the process's efficiency. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider when creating the plan:

  • Make a checklist of the steps. Mention all the tasks that the organisation intends to complete and the channels for communication and feedback.

  • Specify a timeline for the procedure. Set a finishing date for each action so that you can determine the completion of the entire change execution.

  • Use management software. These tools can facilitate the execution of change management activities and they may vary based on an organisation's industry and goals. For instance, using management software, you can add various actions or tasks to the plan and assign them to team members.

4. Implement the plan

After finalising the plan, it is ready for implementation. Various unanticipated issues may arise during plan execution, causing swift resolutions to prevent process disruption. People may resist change, but training and education before and after executing the plan can help reduce resistance. A company can also benefit from establishing a decision-making procedure that guides and empowers employees. It may be essential for the team to disclose the planning steps so that employees and other stakeholders are aware of what to expect.

Proper communication can be an integral part of plan execution. It can assist the organisation in gaining the confidence of its stakeholders and immediately addressing any uncertainties or objections.

5. Strengthen the change

After implementing the plan, an organisation can consider strengthening it, so the employees thoroughly incorporate it. Here are a few strategies an organisation can employ to support the change:

  • Give positive incentives. Positive reinforcement may be an effective method for implementing the change. A business can also implement strategies to assist employees in adopting the new way of performing their duties.

  • Collaborate with the experts. Some individuals may have questions about the change, and experts in change management can strengthen support for the change via training. An organisation may train these professionals to respond to employee queries, which they then relay to the organisation's upper management.

  • Review and repeat actions. An organisation can investigate the plan's impact to identify any necessary modifications or adjustments. They may also consider repeating some steps to better train the employees for the change.

Related: Change Management Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Examples Of Change Management Strategies

Here are two examples to help you understand the change management strategies:

Example 1

Here is an example of change management to update technology in a media service company:

A media services company launched with the initial business model involved offering customers monthly subscriptions that involved sending movie video cassettes and digital versatile discs (DVDs) to their door. As technology advanced from physical data storage formats to online streaming sites, the company implemented a significant change management strategy that altered its business model from delivering DVDs to online video streaming services.

Example 2

Below is an example of a toy manufacturer implementing a change to gain market share:

After many decades of being a highly profitable enterprise, a physical toy-creating company posted severe losses. The company's management enacted a significant change management strategy that involved shifting its focus from only creating physical toys to creating a mix between them and virtual augmented reality experiences. Though the change experienced resistance initially, with the company having essentially the same business model since its inception, it proved to be a move that reconnected the company with its target audiences.

Explore more articles