A change manager oversees and coordinates all aspects of the change management process. They manage all stages of the process, from initiation to post-implementation. The duties of a change manager vary depending on the scope and nature of the changes they implement. Apart from implementing changes, a change manager also considers the organization’s culture and values.
Changes play a fundamental role in the evolution of organizations they assist the organization to stay ahead of the competition. Without an expert change manager, it becomes difficult for any organization to evolve and make a successful transition. Hence, change managers are mandatory for organizations looking to evolve and transform.
If you are looking to hire a change manager, first understand the role of a change manager. This article discusses the change manager position and their responsibilities to ensure successful change management.
What Does a Change Manager Do?
The change manager’s role is often misunderstood by several aspirants when it comes to their duties and skills. Here’s what a change manager is responsible for:
1. Developing a Change Management Plan
Planning is always helpful as it gives a clear direction to proceed. A change manager develops a change management plan prior to starting the work. An accurate change management plan enables the change manager to avoid any scope creep and inform the stakeholders about the progress of changes.
It includes developing a change management strategy, establishing a communication plan, and estimating the budget required for implementing the changes.
Change management strategies are of different types, and the choice of strategy depends on factors like the type of organization, its culture, and the size of changes.
Budget estimation is another critical aspect of the change management plan as it elaborates the financial picture to the stakeholders. It is difficult to secure the required funding to implement changes without an accurate estimation of the budget requirements.
2. Creating Change Management Teams
After developing a change management plan, the next step is to form teams that will work on different aspects of changes. Change management teams perform tasks such as:
- Analyzing the current situation
- Developing change management policies
- Conducting training
A change management team consists of individuals from different departments who have the necessary evolution skills and knowledge to carry out the change in their departments.
3. Developing Change Management Policies
Policies are a vital part of any project as they provide guidelines to the team members on how to proceed with their work. Similarly, change management policies also play a crucial role in ensuring the success of changes.
Change managers create policies that align the change process with the organizational culture and values.
They design policies in such a way as to help the team members understand their roles and responsibilities in the change process. These policies provide guidelines on dealing with different aspects of changes such as resistance, communication, training, etc. They also help in maintaining a consistent approach toward the changes.
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4. Identifying the Risks Associated with Change
A change brings several risks, and a change manager job description entails identifying and tackling them with risks. Their duties include identifying the potential problems that arise while implementing changes. Change managers must assess the impact of these risks on the project.
After identifying the risks, change managers develop strategies to mitigate them. It helps in reducing the chances of any negative impact on the project. Change managers also monitor the changes to ensure that they proceed according to plan.
5. Conducting Training
Training is necessary for the successful implementation of changes. Change managers support training efforts to make employees aware of their roles and responsibilities in the change process. A training plan also helps understand the impact of changes on different departments and functions of an organization.
Change managers conduct training sessions at individual, departmental, and organizational levels. The type of training depends on the nature of changes and their impact on the organization.
6. Monitoring and Controlling the Change Process
After implementing the changes, it is essential to monitor and control them to ensure the effective implementation of the change management plan. Change managers monitor the progress of changes and take corrective actions when required. They also keep track of the changes to meet the desired objectives.
Leaving the change management process unchecked leads to several problems such as cost and time overruns, and missed deadlines. Therefore, monitoring and controlling the change process is essential to avoid such fallbacks.
Monitoring the change process enables a change manager to see the pitfalls and potential risks involved in the changes. It helps in creating a realistic change management plan and setting achievable goals. Monitoring also assists in preparing the change management teams for their tasks.
7. Evaluating the Outcomes of Change
Once change managers implement the changes, they start to evaluate the outcomes. It helps them understand the impact of changes on the organization. The evaluation also helps in identifying the areas where improvements are required.
Change managers analyze the data collected during the monitoring and control phase to assess the outcomes of changes. They also consult with different stakeholders for their feedback on the changes. Based on the evaluation, a change manager takes corrective actions to improve the change management process.
8. Reporting the Change Management Procedure
After implementing the changes, change managers prepare a report on the entire change management process. The report includes all the activities performed during the change management process. It helps in assessing the effectiveness of the change management process.
The report also includes the lessons learned during the change management process. It helps in improving the change management process for future projects. It also enables change managers to share their experiences with other project managers.
9. Identifying and Measuring Success Metrics
As a change manager, one of your key roles is to identify and measure success metrics. It helps you track progress and determine whether a change initiative is successful or not. There are different ways to do this, including training tests, focus groups, surveys, and interviews.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when measuring success is to set realistic goals. If you set goals too high, it will disappoint you with the results. On the other hand, if you set goals that are too low, you cannot measure the impact of the change accurately. It’s also important to choose success metrics in accordance with the change you’re trying to make.
Requirements for a Change Manager Role
A change manager must exhibit in-depth business evolution knowledge and expertise to excel in a change management career. Following are some common requirements for a change manager role that you need to excel in your career:
1. Knowledge of Change Management Principles
Understanding change management principles allow you to perform your duties effectively. Change management principles include:
- Understanding the need for change
- Implementing change
- Monitoring change
Understanding change management principles enables you to deal with different types of changes and ways to manage them effectively. They also allow you to develop an effective change management plan.
2. Strong Business Acumen
Change managers must exhibit a good understanding of business processes. They must know business operations and their goals. Change managers must understand the impact of changes on businesses.
Knowledge of business processes allows you to understand the connection and link of various steps. It, in turn, helps you develop an effective change management plan. With acute business acumen, you can determine the challenges and risks involved in a change initiative and solutions to overcome them.
3. Excellent Communication Skills
Communication plays a key role in change management. Change managers must exhibit excellent communication skills to communicate with stakeholders and upper management. They need the ability to influence and persuade people to support the change.
Change managers communicate the vision and objectives of a change initiative to different stakeholders. They are responsible to listen to the concerns of stakeholders and address them effectively. Excellent communication skills are essential for building trust and buy-in for a change initiative.
As a change manager, you will explain the rationale behind the changes and how the changes will benefit the company. You must listen to the concerns of different stakeholders to address them accordingly.
4. Project Management Skills
Expertise in project management allows you to manage change projects effectively. You manage project teams to ensure on-time and budgeted completion of the project. You must exhibit the ability to monitor and control the technical aspects of the project.
Project management approaches are fundamental for change managers to learn and manage the project. It helps you organize various processes involved in a change initiative and ensure that you complete the project as planned.
5. Leadership Skills
Change managers exhibit strong leadership skills to lead and motivate their teams. They provide direction to their team and help them overcome challenges. Change managers also build consensus among different stakeholders.
As a change manager, you provide instructions to your team to ensure effective business transformation. You also build strong relationships with key stakeholders.
6. Expertise in Analytics
Change managers must exhibit strong analytical skills to use data effectively. They must understand the impact of changes and make decisions accordingly. Change managers use data to develop change management plans.
Analytical skills demand critical thinking and problem-solving ability to understand the impact of changes and make decisions accordingly.
7. Problem-Solving Competency
The ability to identify and solve problems is a crucial competency for change managers. You, as a change manager identify issues and find solutions to overcome them. You also develop contingency plans for dealing with unexpected problems.
Problem-solving skills assist in the effective resolution of issues. As a change manager, you need excellent problem-solving skills to tackle challenges. You also develop contingency plans for dealing with unexpected problems.
Changer managers have a high-responsibility role and therefore need extensive management and people-handling skills to fulfill their duties. If you’re looking to become one, master the fundamental change management skills by enrolling in a management certification course. Upskill your knowledge and keep yourself up-to-date with the latest market techniques and trends.
Here are the most asked questions about a change manager’s role:
What does a change manager do?
A change manager has these responsibilities:
- Lead, plan, and execute change initiatives
- Work with stakeholders to implement changes
- Develop change management plans and strategies
- Train and support employees affected by the changes
- Work with upper management to get their buy-in
- Influence and persuade people to support the change
What qualifications do change managers need?
A change manager must hold a bachelor’s degree in business administration, human resources, economics, organizational management, or a related field.
Obtaining a certificate in change management from a reputable institute is an advantage. Popular change management certifications include Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP), Diversity and Inclusion Certification, and Prosci’s Change Management Certification.
What makes a good change manager?
Here are the qualities that a good change manager exhibits:
- Excellent communication skills
- Strong leadership skills
- Analytical skills
- Expertise in risk mitigation tactics, business continuity planning, and change management processes
- Skills in project management
- Strong familiarity with change management plans
- Conducting effective training sessions
How do you qualify as a change manager?
Here’s what you must do to become a change manager:
- Improve your understanding of business processes, organizational structures, and company culture
- Develop change management skills such as project management, change management processes, and risk mitigation
- Practice excellent interpersonal skills
- Take courses in organizational change management
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