Your business, just like the ever-evolving world around you, is always changing.

In business, change comes in many forms: hiring new employees, adding new departments, mergers, and acquisitions, bringing on a new CEO, shifting to a new strategy, or adapting to the market landscape and competitor challenges.

Implementing new technology—such as moving from on-premises information technology (IT) infrastructure to a cloud-based solution or deploying a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM system like Microsoft Dynamics 365—also means major changes to your business. That’s why, when you partner with Stoneridge Software to launch a new business application, we consider organizational change management (OCM) to be an important part of our service to you.

OCM Success

Reasons for Organizational Change Management

To reap the intended benefits of an organizational change program, it’s imperative that you build organizational change management strategies into your project plan.

Taking care of the technical side of a Dynamics 365 ERP implementation can be challenging, but once it’s launched, it only benefits your company if your employees embrace the new technology and use it on a daily basis. Incorporating OCM into your project management plan sets you up for a successful deployment.

Let’s get into the details of some of the reasons for organizational change management.

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Minimizing Disruption in the Workplace

All changes are disruptive at some level, even strategically planned organizational changes. Without a plan for and commitment to organizational change management, designed changes quickly become costly in terms of lost time and productivity and low morale.

Adding OCM to the organizational change process minimizes the severity and duration of workflow disruptions, downturns in productivity, and declines in employee well-being.

With an organizational change management program in place, you’ll more quickly traverse the hurdles of staff inertia, resistance, and opposition, bridge gaps in knowledge and training, and reach the broad uplands where you not only match productivity levels from before the change but begin to exceed them.

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Preventing Unnecessary Chaos and Turnover

Unmanaged change quickly descends into chaos, and chaos has a way of breeding more chaos. Transformational changes can leave workers feeling stressed, threatened, and insecure—feelings that can drive people to leave for greener pastures.

Organizational change management creates controlled changes. Clear communication ensures a common vision, and your employees will feel more secure if they know where the company is headed. 

A solid training program equips your staff with the skills and know-how they need to move forward. And when productivity increases and the business grows, it’s far easier to keep everyone on board.

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Increasing Company Buy-In

Organizational change management starts with thorough communication. An OCM communication plan might include:

  • Surveying employees before any changes take place to get their input. When your staff is part of the process, they’ll feel a sense of ownership. People are always more likely to buy into a plan that they helped forge.
  • Communicating the reasons behind planned changes and leadership’s vision for where the changes will take the company. A shared vision is another factor that increases buy-in and adoption.
  • Soliciting feedback as organizational changes unfold and mature. Employee perspectives will enrich your review of the change process and point out areas for improvement. This, in turn, boosts staff engagement and buy-in.
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Preparing Leadership for Future Changes

As with any complex process, organizational change is smoother when those carrying it out know what they’re doing. Research highlights things that leaders should and should not do in the context of organizational change—things that are not necessarily intuitive or instinctual. Consequently, every organizational change management program should include OCM training that prepares leaders to facilitate the change process.

What Is Change Management?

When you make changes to your business, there are often easily observable outward changes. For example, changing your organizational structure or implenting new software systems is tangible. But, when these kinds of changes occur, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that each outward change affects the people who staff your business—often in hidden ways. It has a cascading effect on your team and often results in culture shifts.

Change management is the act of overseeing the human side of changes within a business; it’s the shepherding of company personnel from where they are at the beginning of a change to where you envision them being when the change is complete.

Stoneridge offers both change management consulting and new software implementations. Our software deployments are customized to meet your particular business and technology needs. And our organizational change management services work in tandem with your new software, taking care of the people side of implementation from the outset. Change management for major software implementations means preparing each employee to use a new system and training and supporting them until they’ve fully adopted the new technology.

The Importance of Change Management

Organizational change is a fact of business life; organizational change management can mean the difference between successfully navigating an organizational change and having a project fall flat.

Why? Because, ultimately, every business relies on people, and if your people aren’t cared for, your business will suffer.

Consider, as an example, a company launching a new implementation of Dynamics 365. If the company invests in new software without paying attention to the human side of change, they’re unlikely to see the return on investment they anticipated.

Human beings naturally resist change. Mentally, the path of least resistance is to maintain the status quo—to keep using the software you’re already using. Plus, changes at work can make some employees fear for their job safety or worry that they won’t have the skills to adapt to new technology. Organizational change management provides employees with the training and support they need, offering reassurance and maintaining morale.

People will also have their own opinions about the merits of a change and the ways in which the old system is better. Organizational change management provides clear communication of the purpose behind adopting a new system. Employees who understand why they’re being asked to use a new system are more likely to put in the effort needed to fully adopt it.

Depending on the size of your business, a new software implementation may require guiding tens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees through the individual process of accepting, learning, and ultimately using the new system. Change on that kind of scale necessitates organizational change management from the first stages of planning.

Types of Organizational Change

Organizational change comes in many different forms. Some changes involve personnel; others involve strategy, business structure, or technology.

Regardless of the business area affected, organizational changes also come in a range of different sizes. For example, if a new employee is hired, one team within the business must learn how to interact with a new team member. But if a business is restructuring due to a merger, the entire company is affected both in terms of day-to-day work and employee morale.

Adaptive Change

Adaptive changes involve minor alterations within a business—one new entry-level employee, a software update, or a slight revision to a policy or process. If a manager leaves for a position at another firm and is replaced, the change is somewhat more extensive, affecting employees up and down the corporate ladder.

Transformational Change

On the other end of the spectrum of organizational change, transformational changes involve major changes—broad new initiatives, new product directions, improvements in company culture, or the implementation of a new customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Organizational Change Examples

Below is a list of examples of transformational organizational change.

  • Software implementations: A corporation’s business operations are divided into discrete, data-siloed systems—financials, customer relationship management, manufacturing operations, and supply chain logistics. The company deploys a cloud-based ERP system using Microsoft Dynamics 365 with the goal of integrating its systems and optimizing its operations.
  • Mergers: Corporate structure changes radically as two firms merge. Which company’s leadership will take the helm? Will all staff be retained? What policies and procedures will the newly formed business entity follow?
  • Switching to remote work: The COVID-19 pandemic forced thousands of businesses to shift almost overnight from doing business face-to-face in the office to a distributed workforce coordinating over the internet.
  • Layoffs: Financial straits push executives to reduce staff to cut costs; remaining staff have to pick up additional work while coping with the fear of losing their jobs.
  • Culture changes: Executives realize that their company’s top-down, authoritative leadership structure stifles feedback and input from junior associates. They launch a change initiative aimed at shifting the company culture to a more egalitarian model.

Leadership’s Role in Organizational Change Management

Successful organizational change management relies heavily on a company’s leadership. First and foremost, executives must have a plan in place before embarking on any major change initiative. 

Brainstorming in a Business Meeting

Leaders need to answer these questions and more before making an organizational change:

  • Why is the change being implemented? 
  • What are the goals of the change? 
  • Who is affected?
  • What policy, procedural, process, or regulatory changes are necessary for the change initiative? 
  • What changes do employees need to make on a personal level?
  • Who will be in charge of change-related messaging? 
  • Who will head up employee training? 

If employees don’t understand why changes are being made, they’ll be reluctant to commit to learning new skills and procedures and less likely to make new practices part of their daily routine. Accordingly, leadership’s first task in organizational change management is thorough, convincing communication of the reasons and goals for the changes. Many businesses designate a point person to spearhead communication efforts, which in a large organization typically requires the use of multiple channels and plenty of repetition.

Next, employees need to be taught new procedures and policies or, in some instances, how to use new software or machinery. Setting up a plan for training, coaching, and support is a keystone in any organizational change. Without the requisite knowledge, employees can’t fully adopt a change, even if they want to.

Even after an organizational change has been fully adopted, a company’s leaders should evaluate the implementation process and assess how well the planned changes are meeting the company’s goals.

OCM Training for the Whole Team

When you set out to deploy a Microsoft 365–based ERP with Stoneridge as your implementation partner, you can be sure that organizational change management will be an integral part of the project management plan.

Stoneridge Software and the Organizational Change Process

The People Side of Change OCM

With software implementations, it’s all too common for everyone to be focused on sorting out software configurations and getting things launched on time and on budget. It’s easy to neglect the individuals who will be using the system—your employees. If they don’t know what to do or why they’re doing it, your substantial investment in a new ERP or CRM system won’t yield the return you’re looking for.

That’s why Stoneridge’s project management teams include organizational change management consultants. When you partner with Stoneridge for your Dynamics 365 implementation, OCM and OCM training get as much attention as the software launch.

Our Organizational Change Management Strategies

Stoneridge’s organizational change management strategies work. And our deep technological knowledge informs our work on the people side of things.

Shoulder to shoulder with you, we outline a vision for your ERP and define measurable success criteria. Then, as we work on your software solution, we craft people-centered strategies to guide user adoption and proficiency.

This process is what we call the Client Journey:

  • Align. First, we meet to get to know you and set expectations for your project.
  • Define. Next, we put together a demonstration so you can see what your software implementation will look like.
  • Create. As we iteratively build your software solution, we also engage with your users.
  • Deploy. When your system goes live, we provide training, user adoption, and performance support to ensure everything runs as expected.
  • Empower. We don’t disappear once you’re up and running. We’re here as your consultant and long-term partner.

In the change management aspect of our project management service, we incorporate the ADKAR model developed by Prosci. This model emphasizes the fact that, at its most basic level, organizational change requires every individual involved to make a personal journey from an original state to a future, desired state.

ADKAR is an acronym for the five stages of this individual journey.

  1. Awareness: Understanding why things are changing
  2. Desire: Learning about the change and seeking to be part of it
  3. Knowledge: Knowing what’s changing and how it affects daily tasks
  4. Ability: Receiving support to prepare for and implement the change
  5. Reinforcement: Feeling positive about the change and celebrating success

The changes you want to make in your business IT will make your company more efficient, competitive, and profitable—if everyone adopts the new software and uses it proficiently. Organizational change management minimizes the risks you incur with a new ERP deployment and helps you reap the people-dependent return on your investment more quickly.

Our Organizational Change and Development Workshops

Stoneridge offers a number of organizational change and development workshops to help you build your company’s OCM capabilities. 

Topics include:

  • Preparing Sponsors to Drive Change
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • End-User Communication Planning
  • Preparing to Lead Change Adoption
  • Sustaining Change

Tips for Successful Change Management

Organizational change management is a complex field of study and practice, but if you cover the following basic aspects, you’ll be well on your way to successfully implementing change:

  1. Designate a project sponsor who will identify those who will be affected by the change and spearhead the communication of the overarching vision for the change.
  2. Preach the need for and benefits of the intended change to increase employee buy-in and adoption of new processes, practices, or technology.
  3. Equip employees with the knowledge and skills they need for adoption and provide ongoing support once the change has occurred.
  4. Solicit feedback to maintain employee engagement and fuel continuous improvement.
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Increasing Your Capability for Organizational Change

By now, organizational change management is on your radar. Regardless of whether your business already possesses organizational change capabilities, Stoneridge’s project managers and organizational change management consultants have particular expertise in the type of changes users need to make with new software implementations like Dynamics 365.

In addition to the assistance with organizational change that’s baked into our project management services, our organizational change and development workshops provide another opportunity to boost your company’s capability to manage organizational change.

Stoneridge Software Applies OCM Methods to Your Software Implementation

If you’re considering a Dynamics 365 software implementation or business technology roadmapping, Stoneridge has the expertise in organizational change management to help your project reach its ultimate goal—user buy-in and adoption with resultant increases in productivity and profits. 

In addition, our proven technical expertise in the implementation of Microsoft products has earned us Microsoft Inner Circle and US Partner of the Year status from Microsoft. You can trust Stoneridge as your partner in all aspects of organizational change—both the obvious but technically demanding aspects of software deployments and the subtler, softer, hidden side of guiding your people through the change process.

Contact Stoneridge to learn more about how we can help your company with organizational change management for software implementations.