Whilst change management is a concept that’s been around since the 1960s, this year has seen it sharply rise in terms of both relevance and requirement. The coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on all types of businesses, with many transforming the way they work in order to remain productive and compliant. Meanwhile, even companies that remain open have had to put in place new processes and systems, ranging from social distancing measures to advanced biosecurity equipment.

The hardest part of applying change is ensuring its consistency. Without universal acceptance of the change being administered, the new methodology will fail very quickly due to gaps in implementation and maintenance. Specifically, all employees affected by a particular change should be included in its application from the very start, as this way they can adapt to it more naturally as well as offer their individual feedback. This can mean that rather than an altered process eventually failing, it will instead become ingrained in your company culture.

The different types of change are of course wide-ranging, as they can include overarching principles like the way in which a business recruits, to far more focused activity such as the restructuring of certain job roles or the integrating of new technology. Whatever the nature and scale of the change, it’s crucial that resistance is minimised through a precise strategy, clear communication, achievable deadlines, efficient execution, and continued monitoring to ensure stability.

As for the benefits, these are just as extensive. For instance, amending a manufacturing process can greatly increase productivity and output, whereas fine-tuning another area of the business could prevent unnecessary waste in regards to materials and energy consumption. Whilst these advantages will pay for themselves and help your business to climb to the next level, the very process behind achieving change can be extremely complex, which is why it’s often a savvy idea to bring in an expert.

Damian White is the Managing Director of ClarityVM, a consultancy that specialises in delivering bespoke visual management products, Lean management training, and the smooth application of change management:

“We work with businesses across the UK who need to change the way they work, yet getting started can prove an enormous challenge. Our job is to determine where the business currently is, where it wants to be, and how to make the transition happen with as little friction as possible. By analysing all relevant aspects beforehand and creating a detailed strategy tailored to clear criteria, we then help the business to make the changes quickly, effectively, and most importantly, on a permanent basis.

“To ensure the change is imbedded and progress is measured, clear visual management products are designed to sustain these changes.”

As companies of all shapes and sizes realise that some areas of their day-to-day operations need to be adjusted, whether that’s to achieve COVID-compliance or enable future business growth, a change management specialist’s role is to design a plan of action that will bring exceptional results both now and far into the future.