While major factors affecting the success of a business such as market conditions, customer demands, information age, technological growth, input cost, or competition dynamics are rapidly changing, it is also inevitable to change for an organization. Therefore, the organizational change management process inherently covers managing and re-evaluating multiple troubles at the same time.
As change is a process rather than just a situation, several change management methods have been developed over the years. Change management assessment comes forward as one of these methods.
In this article, we will share with you the key elements of successful change management and tips on how to conduct change management surveys in a detailed manner.
What is change management?
First of all, let’s start with the definition of change management. Change management is a set of organizational change practices targeting:
- reducing costs,
- increasing revenues,
- solving problems,
- evaluating opportunities,
- facilitating the flow of information within the organization
In other words, it is approaching the change phenomena in a people-oriented way. Because it is crucial to interact with people within the organization before attempting any organizational change.
6 Steps of the change management plan
An effective change management plan includes the following 6 steps:
- Identify the focal point of change
- Determine the roadmap of the change
- Generate a data-driven path
- Pay attention to strong communication skills
- Celebrate change outcomes
- Monitor and evaluate the change outcomes
Now, let’s have an in-depth look at these steps and offer reasons to consider them in the process of change management assessment .
Identify the focal point of change
First, you need to know what you want to change. Otherwise, your effort will be nothing less than a waste of time and the results will be fruitless. You need to ask the following questions before making a change management plan: “Where are we?” and “What are we aiming for?”
There can be several factors that make change inevitable for you such as, new technology implementations, process updates reorganization, customer service improvements, and more. Focusing on one or more of these factors is the initial step.
Determine the roadmap of the change
You know what you want to change within the organizational dynamics. Well, here comes the second necessary question: How do we evaluate change management? The second step of the change management plan should include clear objectives, goals, and targets.
A healthy change process consists of many different stages. Rather than sudden and hard-to-achieve ones, you should aim to run a well-planned, controlled change management. This is the stage of setting a destination and brainstorming about what can be done as a team. While determining the roadmap, avoid shortcuts and create a realistic and flexible management plan.
Generate a data-driven path
Later in the article, we will talk about how to collect data for a change management plan and which questions you should ask in change management surveys. But first, it goes without saying that no change is made based on assumptions.
Experience sharing and feedback flow are important factors while making a systematic plan for organizational change. Grounding the change plan on assumptions is unprofessional and does not provide healthy results. At this point, a settled plan based on evidence is essential.
Before collecting new data, review the ones that you already have. Then, you can have a chance to compare new and existing data. In this way, it will be also possible to measure the progress in evaluation.
Pay attention to strong communication skills
The complementary element of all technical details of a change management plan is well-established, transparent, and two-way communication (also consider in some organizations, middle managers have a significant role in terms of building bridges between parties).
Communication is first in a social environment such as organizations. You should consult and inform all parties of the change throughout the entire process. Likewise, you should be open to reimagining and redesigning your plan based on their feedback.
The importance of communication is valid for both old and new employees. If you want to learn more about how to communicate with newly hired employees, we recommend you read our blog post on employee onboarding.
Celebrate change outcomes
Let’s say you gained some benefits as a result of the change management process. Then, celebrate these achievements. What we call success becomes more visible with celebration. This attitude helps to strengthen your team’s motivation and commitment to change in the long term.
Celebrating outcomes, whether verbal, written, or any other method, will make things easier. In the case of struggle, employees would remember there will be a celebration of success after hard, sometimes painful times.
Monitor and evaluate the change outcomes
As we mentioned before, change occurs over a long period. After achieving your target, you need to make it permanent and evaluate the change outcomes. It is not enough to accomplish the objective, you have to sustain your achievement.
That is to say, keep measuring, evaluating, and improving the project. Remember that there is no rule that every change will end up in positive results. If change is not beneficial for the organization, feel free to try new ways.
Change Management Assessment
Now, let’s get to the main point. The key for managing and measuring change is to ask questions; powerful and to-the-point questions. We need data to interpret the current situation and to calculate the level of readiness for change. It is also important to collect feedback at different stages of change.
For this reason, change readiness surveys are used to plan an evidence-based roadmap before, during, and after the change.
What is change management readiness?
Measuringchange management readiness is the initial stage of any kind of change plan. With change management readiness surveys, you can collect required data on the capacity for change and current knowledge about the direction.
Here are a few examples of employee survey questions about change readiness:
- I was informed about the change before this survey.
- I think this change is necessary for our organization.
- I think I can contribute to this change.
- I believe that I can adapt to the change quickly.
- The change is compatible with my further career aspirations.
- I believe that the change will contribute to my financial situation.
- I don’t think the change will risk my current position in the organization.
- I am sure that I can learn new skills with this change.
- The change will not affect my health, family, and leisure time.
- The change will result in a better work environment.
What is a change management survey?
In simple terms, change management surveys are tools to collect feedback from employees within the change management process. Knowing employee needs and gathering insights as an outcome of the survey improves the business plan in the long term.
Change managements surveys:
- Improve communication between managers and employees
- Help managers to understand what is working and what is not in the decision-making process
- Allow to effective and real-time response to a problem
- Offer relevant input for long-term management cycle
- Act as a guide for further plans
How to Create a Change Management Questionnaire
Of course, the change goal of every organization is different from each other. So we can’t expect them to ask the same questions. However, there are some well-accepted management survey questions useful to ask in the process of change management.
Likert scales are the most proper and easy way to provide employees a rating system within the change management questionnaire. If you need more than numeric scores, an open text box option, and open-ended questions are also preferable. If you prefer to use 5-point scales to measure, options will probably be as follows:
- Strongly disagree
- Neither agree or disagree
- Strongly agree
Some change management professionals prefer 7 or 10-point Likert scales to diversify options. Some others only use binary questions like yes/no.
There are plenty of ways to collect employee feedback. However, to get better results, we have to consider participants’ time limitations and prepare a management questionnaire as compact as possible. The optimum duration of change management questions to ask employeesshould be between 10-15 minutes.
Change Management Question Examples
If you wonder what questions should you ask before implementing changes, we prepared for you some exemplary change management questions.These questions can be classified under five headings according to the ADKAR model.
ADKAR Model for change management
ADKAR is the abbreviation form of the following words:
Awareness Question Examples:
These are the change management survey questions to evaluate the awareness of the need for change, such as:
- I am aware that the company is about to implement a new business strategy
- I am aware that managers are trying to make significant plans for the future
Desire Question Examples:
These questions are helpful to understand the level of desire to support the change. i.e.:
- I want to change the way we work
- I think the company is considering our values while implementing plans
- I believe the future of the project
Knowledge Question Examples:
A knowledge question measures participant’s knowledge about how to change. For instance;
- I understand the changes projected in the new strategic plan
- I see the need for the changes outlined in the change management plan
- I always know what is expected of me in this work.
Ability Question Examples:
Ability questions, on the other hand, calculates the ability to demonstrate skills and behaviors. You can use the following question patterns:
- I know where to find out more information about the present changes
- I feel supported during organizational change
- I have access to the material and theoretical resources while working
- I have sufficient training skills and education background to complete my tasks
- I see my prior experiences as an advantage to handle the new situation
Reinforcement Question Examples:
Lastly, reinforcement questions are here to flash on how to sustain change. These are the post-change questions to measure the effectiveness. Here are a few examples.
- I see changes happening in the workplace as a result of new decisions
- I think that reorganization provided me to do my duties better than before.
You can revise the questions based on your project aspirations and what you want to change in your organizational operation. It’s easy once you understand the basic logic behind the question templates.
Organizations make a significant investment by helping employees to build the major components of a successful work such as awareness, desire, knowledge, ability to make a change, and reinforcement skills. If long-term success is on the table, there should be a well-designed change management plan.
However, the matter is to know how to organize this change plan and to implement it properly. Evidence-based evaluation is one of the most proper ways of business development and operation of change.
In today’s world, change is inevitable not only for organizations but also for their perception of work. In a world directed by rapidly emerging innovations, it is a must for an organization to adapt and change. However, don’t forget you are still creating value with real people, for real people.
Considering the human factor, any kind of change management process gives healthy results only when it is run with employees.
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