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The underappreciated value of change management

The underappreciated value of change management

Picture102142024 - Business ExpressWritten by Margo Waldorf, Founder of Change Awards 

Businesses have faced a toxic mix of soaring interest rates, rampant inflation and broken supply chains over the past few years. As a result of turbulent times, organisations are pressured to re-think their processes and implement new strategies to react to external pressures.

Contributing to the shift in business priorities, the pressure to innovate and digitally transform means leaders and businesses must be ready to react and adapt to the developing environment. How change is implemented should now be considered a top priority for companies wanting to grow, and this means understanding every detail, including the people who support it, which will turbocharge the transition.

Employees power an organisation. In fact, employee experience is consistently being cited as a top consideration for businesses, as 85 per cent of business leaders say employee experiences and satisfaction remain paramount.

As businesses undergo innovative and strategic change at all levels, businesses must understand that it is the people who lay at the heart of change. Business outcomes are a direct reflection of their employees, and this must be recognised and celebrated.

Ensuring teams are fully briefed and equipped to implement new ways of working successfully is just as important as the newly developed strategy or invested technology. Without the manpower to operate or implement new ways of working, the potential will fall flat.

Change management takes control of this. It is the engine that powers a business to successfully transform its ways of working, allowing rapidly developing technology to be implemented successfully, and its value should not be underappreciated.

A combined approach

Change management now plays a crucial role in many organisations looking to embrace innovation, technology and change. However, it is often misunderstood as a discipline.

Covering all areas of business, change management includes everything from strategic planning and project management to organisational development to process improvement. It often involves a combined approach to improve operations and business success strategies as well as offering opportunities for career progression.

As technology develops, regulations to govern them are being prioritised. Change management also helps to lay down the groundwork for developing a culture that is ethically aware while also being agile and reactive to the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

For change to be implemented successfully, leaders must understand the power change management brings. Not only does it promote an efficient culture, but it also offers opportunities for re-skilling and upskilling.

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In an ever-changing working world, understanding and addressing the needs of individuals in a strategic bottom-up approach, which includes training requirements in line with the opportunities or limitations that the new technology brings, is vital.

Adding value 

Change management brings huge value to organisations, not just by promoting innovation and digital transformations but also by tapping into the needs and wants of the people powering the business.

People and employees must be provided with an environment that allows creativity to take place while also providing a safe place where mistakes can be made. This will act as an important piece of the puzzle when figuring out how to meet the potential technology offers, allowing innovation to take place.

Learning experiences will play a crucial role in how successful an organisation is in the future. While the features and functions of a new technological system are important, a deep understanding from the human side of what is trying to be achieved to ensure full alignment is just as important.

Digital transformations 

Emerging technologies provide almost limitless possibilities, offering a vast number of tools to boost employee experience, improve customer experience and enhance data usage, to name just a few. Ultimately, technology, when implemented correctly, can strengthen revenues and profits.

Artificial Intelligence has been the hot topic of discussion in 2023, and businesses are grappling with the various ideas around how it can be implemented and used to support operations, boost business efficiencies and improve processes.

Businesses want to be involved however, emerging technologies are developing at increased speed, and the direction is continuously changing. While this provides exciting opportunities for organisations, building a resilient model and an employee deck that can handle this is vital.

Change Management should not be seen as an afterthought, used only when there is a need. The agility and the rate of adoption require organisations to tie change management to the improvements of the enterprise and this means weaving it into processes, not using it as a separate solution.

In the age of transformation, organisations must prioritise managing internal change, and this involves a combined approach between implementing new technologies, managing the people and ensuring alignment across the board.

The development of technology and change is not slowing down, and businesses must be prepared to adapt. Fostering a culture of adaptability and innovation will drive business success, and the value that change management brings to achieving this must be understood and capitalised on.

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