A change readiness assessment is one of the most important tools in the change manager’s toolbox. When used properly, they can help managers better understand how ready the organization and employees are for change. That information is essential for designing change strategies that meet an organization’s specific needs. This may seem obvious to an experienced Change Manager as will the 5 categories outlined in this blog, however , all too often these fundamental basics are overlooked.
This blog looks at the most important categories to include in a readiness assessment. An assessment should cover the most important elements of a change management plan.
1. Executive Sponsorship
Executive sponsorship has an enormous impact on a change program’s outcomes.
This category of the readiness assessment is designed to gauge whether a program has a sponsor and how engaged the sponsor is with the program.
Here are a few examples of the types of questions to include in this category:
- Does the proposed change project have an executive sponsor?
- Are the executives sponsors actively committed to the change project?
- Has a governance structure been clearly identified?
- Will the sponsor participate in the execution and management of the plan?
As with many of the other questions in the assessment, it is useful to score answers on a numerical scale – for instance, from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”
2. Change Management Communication Strategy
Communication is an essential component of any form of management, including change management. A solid communication strategy will have a direct effect on employee engagement, their resistance to change, and their productivity, among other things.
Including the right questions in an assessment, therefore, is essential to designing an appropriate communication strategy.
A few examples of questions to include in this section of the survey include:
- Does the communication strategy clearly outline what change is occurring and why it is occurring?
- Have mechanisms been put into place to collect employee feedback?
- Is the messaging clear and understandable?
- Has the change vision been clearly articulated by the change leaders?
Change management communication strategies, in short, should have specific and measurable objectives, and questions such as these can help develop communication plans that get tangible results.
Change managers are the ones tasked with overseeing organizational change projects. They are also tasked with ensuring that responsibilities are delegated appropriately and the program operates smoothly.
Here are some sample questions that cover this category:
- Is structured change managementbeing applied to the proposed change project?
- Has a guiding coalition been established to supervise the change project?
- Have change teams been recruited at all levels of the organization, from executive leadership to frontline workers?
- Have responsibilities and roles been clearly delegated?
- Have managers created a detailed project roadmap?
In short, these questions are designed to analyze the structural and managerial aspects of the change proposal.
Planning and project management are essential to an initiative’s success, of course. But it is important not to overlook the other categories of questions covered here, since they also have a significant impact on project outcomes.
4. Employee Training
Employee training and organizational change often go hand-in-hand. After all, without the proper skills and knowledge, employees will not be able to drive a project forward.
For this reason, many popular change management frameworks include steps that focus on employee training.
Here are a few examples of questions to include in this portion of the assessment:
- Have the employee skillsneeded to drive change been identified?
- Has a training strategy been established to cultivate these skills among the workforce?
- Have the appropriate training tools been identified and incorporated into the change plan?
- Will skills assessments be conducted continuously throughout the program?
- How large is the skills gapbetween employees’ current skill levels and their desired skill levels?
Having the right skill set is mandatory for a change project to proceed successfully. That being said, however, skills will do little good if employees are not motivated and engaged.
5. Individual Readiness
Executive support, as mentioned earlier, is essential for a change project to succeed – but employee support is equally important. There are a number of elements that affect employee motivation, including organizational culture, employee skills, attitudes, and the workplace climate.
To assess individual employees’ readiness for change, surveys can include questions such as:
- Are you open to change in the workplace?
- How comfortable are you with learning new skills and implementing new ideas?
- Are you able to implement new workflows and processes in addition to your existing duties?
- Are you willing to actively support the proposed change project?
Individual readiness and engagement depends a great deal on factors that cannot be directly controlled by managers, such as openness to change and the desire for change.
However, soft skills can go a long way towards improving employee engagement and reducing resistance from employees. This is why it is so important to develop a structured change management communication plan, as mentioned above.
Blog Credit: Christopher Smith