Glossary
Essential terms used by HR and their meanings.

Change management


Transformation is an essential part of the ongoing success of an organisation. The importance of effective change management can therefore not be underestimated. The work encompasses several elements from identifying change opportunities, to forecasting their full impact, to implementing the change processes, and finally communicating the nature as well as the importance of organisational change.

What is change management?

The core idea in any change management model is that no change happens in isolation. Effective change management is the process of understanding how the organisation and its people will be impacted by change and putting in place the necessary processes to enable them to embrace new ways of working.

This will include challenging resistance to change as well as addressing issues within the organisational culture, which may inhibit change.

As the function most focussed on an organisation’s people, HR will often be tasked with leading on or playing a central role in projects such as this.

What is a change manager?

A change manager is the person who leads an organisation through change processes and establishes the tools and frameworks that make individuals more adaptable to operational changes.

They will make a considerable contribution to organisational culture, their role will be to build collaborative relationships and foster trust with other leaders in the organisation in order to set the tone and mindset for change.

They will need to be an excellent communicator, able to take people on journeys at every stage of the change process and set expectations with a clear explanation of the intended outcomes of activity.

They will have a high level of emotional intelligence; change is hard and picking up on the personal difficulties it may create for people will be the first step to breaking down their resistance to necessary change.

They will have a strategic outlook, so that changes are always linked to the bigger picture and aligned to the organisational goals.

Change Management

Change management model

There a numerous distinct change management models drawing on disciplines that include, behavioural science, engineering, psychology and systems thinking. However, at the core change management has four essential pillars:

  • Understanding change – what is the need for change, what are the organisational benefits, how is it going to impact individuals, what does successful change look like?

  • Planning change – gathering support, generating buy-in at all levels, finding ways to involve the right people, gauging the impact and how to measure this effectively

  • Implementing change – setting the criteria for success, challenging negative habits, supporting those most impacted adapt successfully

  • Communicating change – imparting knowledge, raising awareness and continuously reinforcing the message that change is needed.

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