Don’t Slip Back into Old Ways: Streamlining Change with Effective Document and Training Management
Adapting to changes, evolving, and being agile have become essential for organizations today to be able to keep pace with changing market environments and customer preferences. But despite it being crucial for growth and success, managing changes to processes and approaches is not easy. Research shows that 70% of change implementation fails. This is due to challenges such as the following:
- Change Strategy and Implementation Have to Be in Sync: The need for change needs to be clearly understood, not only by the leaders but by every team that will be impacted by it. A key question is how the change will be implemented and what the roles and responsibilities of the different employees will be. A strong, strategic change management plan is essential to improve the chances of success of any change implementation.
- Rigid Change Strategy Without Visibility into the Change Process: Visibility into the change management process is essential for businesses to assess if the outcomes are as desired. If not, then the strategy may need to change. Often, when defining the strategy, businesses may become rigid, because of which responding to any challenges along the way may become difficult and hamper the positive impact of change.
- Slipping Back into “Old Ways”: Once the changes are implemented, employees may slip back to the old way of doing things due to comfort or lack of clarity. Fear of becoming redundant is also a strong motivation to revert to old methods. This is due to insufficient communication and clarity, assuring employees of their relevance as well as how they can contribute to the organization in the new system is important.
- Mindset - Hesitation and Fear: Resistance to change is very common and can affect the success of the change. This often comes from hesitation and fear. Old habits also die hard. Therefore, along with communication, providing the right skills and making employees familiar with the new way of working becomes critical.
- Unrealistic Goals: Change implementation must be phased out to allow people to become comfortable with the new way of doing things and avoid errors and rework. This requires assessing what must change when and the acclimatization period needed before another change can be introduced.
- Not Celebrating Wins: Celebrating the attaining of milestones will encourage employees to persist with the changes. Balance difficult changes with simple and mid-range changes to prevent burnout and lack of enthusiasm amongst employees to persist with the changes.
- Lack of Relevant Resources: Changes require different kinds of resource allocation - money, time, and skills. Not assessing the needs correctly and not allocating the required resources can come in the way of the successful implementation and sustenance of the change.
Robust Document and Training Management: Key to Better Implementation of Change Initiatives
A well-implemented change management strategy can ensure changes to processes with minimal disruption to operations, greater employee participation, and better risk management. Along with a strong change management plan, good documentation and training will help the organization carry forward and sustain the changes for greater success and effectiveness.
Best Practice #1. Define and Document Goals: The change management strategy must be clearly defined. It must delineate the goal, scope, roles, and responsibilities in detail. This must be shared with all employees to provide clarity and information to prepare them for what to expect. The document must be shared with each employee and also made available in a central location for easy reference.
Best Practice #2. Make Change Strategy Transparent: Employee buy-in is critical for the successful implementation of the change management plan. Often, employees feel there is no transparency, and therefore there is no trust in the process. Documenting and providing centralized access will provide the required visibility and engage employees better in ensuring the success of the proposed changes.
Best Practice #3. Train and Prepare Teams: Assess the gaps in skills to meet the requirements of the new changes to processes and methodologies well in advance. Allow the employees time to practice the new skills to adapt to the changes better.
Best Practice #4. Document the Impact of Changes: Documenting changes will provide an audit trail and enable the identification of success and possible errors along the way. It will also help employees see how the changes have impacted their tasks and the journey of the organization, making them feel more invested in change management.
Best Practice #5. Seek Feedback: The communication must be two-way. Since the changes will impact the workers at the ground level, seeking their views and ensuring they are incorporated into the system will increase the sense of ownership. Documenting these communications and sharing the action taken will improve the transparency and effectiveness of the change process.
Best Practice #6. Facilitate Knowledge Sharing: Providing a platform for employees to share their experiences and knowledge will hasten the learning and adaptation process. These will also be available for future reference in jumpstarting other such processes.
Best Practice #7. Risk Management: Changes come with risks. Documenting the risks, assessing the impact, prioritizing the risks based on intensity and frequency, and putting in appropriate controls are essential for mitigation. Creating a centralized repository of risks will help keep track and be responsive, whenever required.
As we have mentioned several times, robust change management with integrated CAPA, risk management, documentation, and training lie at the heart of a well-designed QMS workflow/process.
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