Best Practices for Organizational Change Management

Blog: Best Practices for Organizational Change Management

Laboratories and industries everywhere are realizing that technological innovations are moving at a rapid and ever-increasing pace. These technological initiatives require organizational change management (OCM) to ensure success. Some of these initiatives include the following:

  • Cloud-based computing
  • Data lakes
  • Generative artificial intelligence
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) laboratory information management systems (LIMS) with regular releases using the Agile methodology

Is your company prepared to face the associated OCM challenges of technological innovations?

Whether it is a paradigm shift by your organization to embrace Computer Software Assurance (CSA) or an attempt to increase end-user adoption after implementing a LIMS or a data lake, change takes effort. To complete the process transformation, OCM must occur at the individual and collective organization levels. Change can invoke many emotions, from curiosity and enthusiasm to ambivalence and resistance. The end result for the organization depends on how the leadership/sponsor team manages the change. If done right, it will become an accepted part of the company culture.

The Prosci Organizational Change Management Model 

CTA Webinar Organizational Change Management ROI

There are various change management models from which to choose—some focus on the emotional transitions and psychology of those going through change, while others are more logic-based; however, all require a customized approach to their actual implementation. One model that stands out for encompassing both an emotional and a logical approach is the Prosci three-phase methodology. This methodology defines the phases of successful OCM while also focusing on the impacted individuals to ensure they are aware of and are willing—or even excited—to embrace the change. The three phases are: 

  • Prepare Approach
  • Manage Change
  • Sustain Outcomes

Phase 1: Prepare Approach

At the start of the project, the team should develop a shared definition of what the success of this change looks like—what the team is trying to achieve. Once the definition of success is agreed upon and documented, an impact assessment occurs to determine who and what is impacted by the change and how.

The results of this impact assessment are the inputs to determine the approach to take to ensure success. The approach timeline must incorporate the premise that change will not happen overnight. Throughout the project, it is important that the organization’s leadership sets the tone for collaboration and is committed to the shared vision of the project’s successful future state. 

▶ Related Reading: The Secret to LIMS Implementations – Organizational Change Management

Phase 2: Manage Change

Prior to rolling out the approach to a larger audience, it is important that the project team has a plan in place that addresses how individuals in the organization will be prepared for the change and supported throughout the process. At the center of the Prosci methodology is the individual’s change management process—Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (ADKAR). The use of consistent, clear messaging in communication using the ADKAR framework is essential to convey how the change and the future state benefit the individual as well as the broader organization. 

Just as important as the message is who delivers it. During the rollout of the change, have frequent check-ins with the impacted individuals to assess their adoption progress. Listen to the feedback objectively. If there are concerns, acknowledge and address them directly. Keep the individuals involved! If the feedback warrants an adjustment to the approach, then make it proactively with an iterative, agile approach until the team’s definition of success is achieved.

▶ Related Reading: Organizational Change Management – The Change Manager Role

Phase 3: Sustain Outcomes

Once the change has been made, it is time to review the performance of the project. Was the original timeline met? What did the project team do well, and what could have been improved to accelerate adoption? Documenting lessons learned for the project is helpful for those involved and the organization as a whole.

By analyzing the information and incorporating learnings into the organizational project management portfolio, successful change management will become more and more efficient. The last step is to transfer ownership from the sponsoring project team to the appropriate personnel who will ensure that the change remains part of daily life.

All Aboard for Organizational Change Management!

Let’s take an example: a change is made to how lab data is processed, and it is no longer acceptable to email the data to stakeholders. The new process is to upload the data to the data lake.

Using the Prosci methodology referenced in the previous section, the project team has developed a clear definition of the future state (data uploaded to the organization’s data lake). The project team has been engaging the impacted individuals through clear, consistent communication coming through the appropriate channels.

Organizational leadership is committed to the new process and gets the managers of impacted staff onboard to explain the benefits to their direct reports. The project team has done the impact assessment and requested the appropriate updates to provide clear documentation of the new process. Any related quality management system (QMS) documents have been updated.

The new process training is rolled out prior to the Go-Live date; it is built into the project’s timeline to address any questions or concerns. Frequent check-ins occur between managers and direct reports after the change occurs. It is a team effort across the organization to achieve this future state. Employees were made aware of the change early on and were involved in the organizational change management process; they saw not only the benefit to the company but also their role in realizing that benefit. 

CTA CSols Summit OCM ROI

Maintain the Change

The end result of our example is that the new process is in place—all lab data is loaded and stored in the organization’s data lake. In reviewing the performance of the project to seek feedback to make improvements, it is important for managers to continue to check in with their impacted staff to ask: Is the process working? Are any adjustments needed in the new process? This feedback will relate to not only the new process but also to the change management rollout. By keeping employees involved and encouraging a continuous improvement mentality, the ownership of the new process is passed onto those who incorporated the change. 

What role is responsible for organizational change management in your organization? 

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