Establishing Change Management in the Workplace

Meghan Hosely
January 7th, 2020

Change is inevitable in any workplace, but especially in the fast-paced clinical research industry. While change may be embraced by some, it is typically met with resistance. Even though it’s a natural response to change, employees don’t have to stay reluctant to the proposed adjustments.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the main goal of change management in a workplace is to positively implement new processes, products and strategies. There are steps an organization can take and things they can keep in mind while implementing change.

Create a Standard Operating Procedure Document

A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is “a written, step-by-step instruction describing how to perform a routine activity.” There are many reasons organizations use SOPs in their day-to-day tasks and having an SOP to assist in an organizational change helps keep everyone on the same page. Since change is most likely to happen more than once, it’s necessary to have an SOP in place so staff members can know what to expect. It’s also useful if an organization experiences turnover – everyone will have a clear understanding of how to embrace change. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), your SOP should include elements such as:

  • Evaluation of a change
  • Approval to proceed with the change
  • Implementation of the change
  • Review to ensure the change has been effective
  • Reviews the effectiveness of the overall system

Establishing a set of guidelines that your organization will follow time and time again helps establish a sense of normalcy for your staff. The more an organization can normalize changes and run according to a SOP, the better they can establish trust and retention with staff.

Identify Key Leaders for Change

Organizational change is never a small feat – it will take more than one person to establish and carry out change. Appointing a team of ambassadors and champions to help communicate successes and improvements is key. Typically, this team is made up of key stakeholders in the organization, and their main responsibility will be to ensure the change is positively communicated.

By using the initial successes of the proposed change, it lays the groundwork for any challenges that may arise later on. However, communication must be consistent and clear across the board – everyone should give the same message when communicating change. Not only does this help clear up confusion, but it ensures messages are conveyed to employees in a positive manner.

Create a Sense of Urgency

The messages that organizations convey to their employees during a time of change can influence how staff will respond to the change itself. While resistance is a natural response, creating a sense of urgency helps set the tone early on that the “status quo” will not stay, and the proposed change is in everyone’s favor.

Maintaining a sense of urgency is as important as creating it. Once your key leaders are identified, it’s easy to use them as they convey positive changes to the rest of staff, motivating them to keep moving forward. It’s important for the key leaders to consistently communicate with staff members about both the benefits and challenges the organization will face, as well as hear out staff members. The clearer the communication pathways are between everyone involved, the higher the success rate will be of embracing change in your organization.

Learn More

Want to learn more about best practices in change management? Join us as Erin Nigbor, Senior Project Manager from Forte presents, “Best Practices in Change Management When Implementing Enterprise Software” in our on-demand webinar.

Watch the webinar recording