Change Management in the Age of COVID
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the topic of discussion over the last year and a half and it does not seem like it will be going away any time soon. As part of the Business Advisory & Accounting team, I have worked with many clients that are changing the way they do business to help protect their employees and ensure the continuity of operations during these unprecedented times. Whether it is adjusting to a new decentralized work force or shifting product lines and distribution channels, it has become crucial for businesses to understand how the pandemic has effected business operations and how to implement the needed changes to successfully navigate this ever-changing business climate. The change management process is a helpful tool that companies can use to implement needed changes in their organizations in response to COVID-19.
What is Change Management? Change management is the process of guiding organizational change to completion and typically includes three major phases: Preparation, implementation, and follow-through.
Preparation – The preparation phase includes raising awareness of the problems the organization is facing and creating a vision and plan to overcome those challenges. In the preparation phase, it is important for everyone in the organization to recognize and understand the need for change. Involving everyone in the change management process will help prevent resistance as changes are implemented. Some important factors to consider when creating a vision and plan for the change are:
- Strategic goal – What will be accomplished as a result of the change?
- Key performance indicators – How will success be measured?
- Project team – Who will oversee and implement the change?
- Project Scope – What specific steps and actions will be performed?
- Risks of what could go wrong – Is there a backup plan?
Implementation – With a clear and concise plan in place, it is time to follow the steps outlined to begin implementing the change. Throughout the implementation process, it is important to focus on empowering employees to help them embrace the need for change and to work towards achieving the strategic goals. Developing and maintaining effective communication throughout the implementation process is also crucial for a smooth transition and to identify any issues that may arise along the way.
Follow-through, or Monitor and Review – Now that the change initiative has been completed, the last important step is to monitor, review, and analyze the effects of the changes and to determine if the strategic goals were successful. This process is useful and can offer insight and lessons learned that can be applied in future projects and initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges is all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional. However, as the saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” How was your organization responded to the challenges of this pandemic? As business consultants at Morrison, we have helped many of our clients navigate and respond to the continual changing business landscape we are currently facing. The change management process is an effective tool to identify, plan, and implement the change needed not only to survive, but to thrive during these unprecedented times.
Daniel Paulsen is a consultant with Morrison, working primarily in our Business & Accounting Advisory practice. To get in touch with Daniel, please find contact information for Morrison here.