Best practices for change management

Change management is an ongoing team effort by you and your employees to embrace new changes that will ultimately improve the company. These can be structural changes in the management or organization or larger systemic changes that rebuild the company culture and set new core values. 

All of this runs parallel to the day-to-day management of your company. Change management ensures transitions happen smoothly while establishing practices that prepare your employees. It entails training, communication, operating procedures, and campaign and sales strategies. 

Despite our natural hesitancy for change, actively seeking improvement will help your company remain agile. This article outlines ten change management best practices to keep your company moving forward. 

3 Types of Organizational Change

The  top 3 common types of organizational change include:

1. Developmental change – A change that improves or optimizes existing processes, strategies, and procedures.


2. Transitional change – A change that takes the company in a new direction or state in order to tackle problems. This can include mergers, acquisitions, and automation.  

3. Transformational change – A change that reimagines the ideological values of a company, its brand, and its operations. 



10 Change Management Best Practices 

Best practices are a means to simplify and structure the big picture. A large company has many moving parts, making top-down organizational structures challenging to navigate. By implementing change management practices, you are setting up a development standardization. It puts everyone on the same page, the same rules, and mitigates errors and oversight that can make change daunting.


1. Define clear goals


Setting up a management initiative should be planned carefully with defined goals. By writing them down and sharing them among your employees, you are creating a transparent communication network about the direction your company should be taking. This gives employees and leaders a reference point, making it easier to bring perspective and change course later. 

Defined goals will allow your company structure to remain agile, giving your employees more time to focus on product and service development.

2. Establish Your Change Management Model

Acknowledge the need for change and avoid a ‘fix what’s broken’ mentality to best integrate change management into the fabric of your corporate structure. Companies are naturally risk-averse and can become resistant to change. You build better rapport with employees by routinely tackling the needed fixes, which can help with recruitment and talent retention later on.

It is wise to consider commonly used change management models from the outset and devise your growth strategies around them. Understanding your brand, employee needs, and goals will give you insight into what change management model may work best or provide a template for structuring your own. 

3. Build your Leaders

Any effective change management needs to be spearheaded by your leaders. - the process requires both sponsorships and having leaders set the example for the organization using new tools and ways of working. It is important to bring these leaders on board by communicating the plurality of benefits that the intended change will have for them and the business. Also, identify other internal ambassadors for change within the organization and let them help in coaching and encouraging teammates.

Managers and higher levels alike should have access to change management training. This will prepare them to lead in the face of change as they navigate resource allocation and work process disruptions. Change management is a skill that can be strengthened and must be revisited to keep the leadership agile and ready.

4. Train and reassure your teams

Support your employees by offering training sessions and allowing ample time to adapt to changes. Employee concerns should be met with empathy and reassurances provided about what the changes mean for them. Instead of focusing on training, focus on learning - people have different skill sets and learn in different ways, so accommodate alternative ways to adapt to change. Well-supported employees will improve the company’s reputation when seeking new talent. 

Training sessions for employees can be an excellent opportunity to build soft skills, helping them manage change while acquiring new experiences for their team. The most crucial change management skills include resilience, agility, communication, active listening, strategic thinking, and analysis.

5. Encourage conversations, communication, and transparency.

Any severe change talk should be led by starting communication channels and initiating conversation. This helps track the impact throughout the change process and gather information for making adjustments later on. It also enables transparency by keeping employees informed about what is coming and what they can expect.

Communication should be two-way, with both leaders and other higher-ups taking a proactive role in listening to their employees. A company should also be willing to open up about its failures. Such humility is a proven tactic to build team morale and foster creativity

6. Listen and empower your employees

You must give your employees the opportunity to lead the conversation. Provide in-office tools that enable employees to ask questions, suggest ideas, and provide feedback for proposed changes. 

Employees are acutely aware of the tools and services they need to improve their work practices. Open communication channels can put change in the hands of those who deal with certain day-to-day functionality. If open communication is not present, the difference is only ever handed down from upper management. In that case, it can result in resistance to change and an unwillingness to engage later.  

7. Make information accessible

Every change, consideration, draft, or discussion should be well-documented and accessible to all company employees. This ensures transparency throughout the company and makes it easier to engage your employees in change management discussions. By having tools that provide easy access, employees can save valuable work time from daily searches and increase productivity. 

8. Recognize and reward

By nature, we like to be acknowledged and rewarded for our hard work. Failing to get recognition can weaken morale and cause disinterest in engaging with the company culture. This can have a detrimental effect when asking employees to assist with transformations. Establish work-culture behaviors that encourage your employees through rewards and accomplishments. Do this on both an individual and team level and track the progress of your milestones.

9. Evaluate and Course-correct

Your company is constantly changing. So is your competitor. Even change management as a practice is changing. You must continuously be in a state of reflection, examining what is and is not working. Moreover, your corporate structure can change quickly if a higher-up leaves or your business market sees unexpected disruption. Ultimately, you must be ready to enact contingencies and course corrections at the drop of a hat. 

Doing so ensures you remain flexible and agile in the market and maintain on-course for your long-term goals. Evaluation and reflection make up the backbone of effective change management. 

10. Make it social

Perhaps less obvious is the value in sharing your change management solutions publicly. These wins should be celebrated both within and outside your organization.

This practice can help benefit the larger community and forge new innovative approaches through intra- and inter-organizational collaboration.