2022

Essential Change Manager Skills

Almost every industry is constantly changing. Managing a changing workplace by planning, implementing, and monitoring changes to ensure successful outcomes is quite hard without the assistance of a change manager.

Change managers are often the unsung heroes of organizational success, as they help ensure that employees can adapt to new situations and procedures efficiently and effectively. The role of a change manager is to focus on governing and implementing changes within an organization.

They work with senior management to assess what changes need to be made, develop a plan to make those changes, and then communicate the plan to employees. They also work with employees during and after the change has been made. It enables them to ensure that everyone understands and complies with the new procedures.

To effectively implement a change and accomplish various other tasks, you need change management skills. This guide will go through some of the essential skills you’ll need to adapt to succeed in a change management career.

Technical Skills

Change management is a complex process that requires the coordination of many different parts. A change manager must have strong technical skills to understand the complexities of a change and develop a plan that addresses them.

Though technical skills vary depending on the industry, some of the common skills include:

Project Management

Planning, managing, and executing a project from start to finish is essential for any change manager. Projects can be complex, with many moving parts and stakeholders. A change manager must be able to keep track of all of these elements and make sure they are moving in the right direction.

Knowledge of Project Management Software

Change managers often use project management software to plan and track changes. There are many different types of project management software, so a change manager needs to be familiar with the most popular ones.

Change Models and Frameworks

Various change models and frameworks exist to help plan and execute change. Being familiar with these models and frameworks will allow a change manager to choose the most appropriate one for any situation.

If you lack any of the skills mentioned above, don’t worry. Many courses and certificates are available to help you develop the necessary skills.

Communication Skills

In addition to technical skills, you must also have strong communication skills. A large part of the job is communicating with employees and other stakeholders about changes.

Change can be disruptive and cause anxiety, so you need to effectively communicate the purpose of a change and its impact on employees. Lack of proper communication can lead to employee resistance to change, leading to the failure of a change initiative.

You need to be adept in the following types of communication skills to excel in change management:

Writing Skills

Change managers must be able to write clearly and concisely. It includes writing emails, memos, and reports. Change managers often have to distill complex information into easy-to-understand language for employees.

Verbal Communication Skills

Verbal communication is essential for explaining changes to employees and getting them on board with the new changes. You must deliver presentations on changes, hold meetings with stakeholders and answer questions from employees.

Active Listening Skills

To address a change management process, you need to practice active listening. It means giving your full attention to the speaker, making eye contact, and not interrupting. You can’t communicate if you’re not listening to what the other person is saying.

Requirements to Become a Change Manager

Employees indeed have questions and concerns about the change, and you must listen to them and address their concerns. By practicing active listening, you can show employees that you care about their concerns and are open to hearing what they have to say.

Leadership Skills

Addressing a change management process is pretty hard for you without a solid grip on leadership skills. After all, you’ll be leading the charge in implementing changes in the company. You need to be able to motivate employees, set goals, and keep everyone on track. You’ll also need to be able to manage conflict and build consensus. Change can be disruptive and lead to conflict, so you need to be able to manage it effectively.

You need to focus on the following skills to improve your leadership competencies and style:

Decision-Making Skills

Making the right decision at the right time is crucial for success in change management. Change managers need to be able to assess a situation, weigh the pros and cons, and make the right decision for the company. You can improve your decision-making skills by practicing making quick decisions under pressure. It will help you develop the ability to make sound decisions timely.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Change managers often have to resolve conflicts between employees and stakeholders. They need to be able to listen to both sides of the argument and find a solution that everyone can agree on. By practicing conflict resolution skills, you can become a better problem solver and more effective in managing change.

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Motivating Employees

Everyone needs motivation and inspiration to keep going despite challenges. As a change manager, you need to motivate employees and keep them engaged in the change process. You can do this by setting goals, providing feedback, and recognizing employees’ contributions to the change.

Change managers need to be able to inspire employees and get them on board with the changes. You need to be able to articulate the vision for the change and how it will impact employees. You can motivate employees by setting goals, providing feedback, and recognizing their contributions to the change.

Patience

The change management process can be long and drawn out. There may be setbacks and challenges along the way. You need to be patient and have the perseverance to see the change process through to the end. Patience enables you to keep going until the change is implemented successfully.

Strategic Skills

Change management strategies need to be planned and well thought out. Making a change on a whim is not a good idea. It would be best to focus on strategic thinking to see the big picture. It will help you develop creative solutions to problems and stay ahead of the competition. Strategic skills will also help you develop long-term plans for the company and align the change with the company’s goals.

Change Manager Responsibilities

To improve your strategic skills, you need to develop the ability to think long-term, identify opportunities and threats, and develop creative solutions to problems. You need to follow the following steps to develop change management strategies:

Strategically Planning

Whether you are planning for a small change or a large-scale transformation, you need to be strategic in your approach. You need to understand the company’s goals and how the change will help achieve them. You also need to understand the resources available to you and how to use them effectively. By planning strategically, you can ensure that the change is successful and meets the company’s goals.

Anticipating Problems

No change management process is without its challenges. As a change manager, you need to be able to anticipate problems and develop solutions to them. You need to have a contingency plan in place if something goes wrong. By anticipating problems, you can avoid them or mitigate their impact on the company.

Implementation of Change

Once the change management strategy is in place, you need to implement it. It involves communicating the plan to employees and key stakeholders, training employees on the new process, and monitoring the progress of the change. By implementing the change effectively, you can ensure success and achieve the desired results.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Change is a continuous process. As a change manager, you need to monitor the progress of the change and evaluate its effectiveness. For successful change management, you need to track key indicators. You also need to gather feedback from employees and stakeholders to see how they respond to the change. By monitoring and evaluating the change, you can make necessary adjustments to ensure success.

Analytical Skills

For implementing change programs, you need to have strong analytical skills. As a change manager, you need to gather data and analyze it to identify trends and patterns. It will help you understand how the change impacts employees and the entire organization. You can also use data to make informed decisions about the direction of the change.

7 R's of change management

Following are some aspects you need to focus on to take your analytical skills to the next level:

Collecting Data

To make sound decisions, you need to gather accurate data from various sources. It includes surveying employees, reviewing performance data, and analyzing social media data. By collecting data, you can better understand how the change is impacting the company.

Interpreting Data

Once you have collected the data, you need to analyze it and interpret the results. It involves understanding the trends and patterns in the data and drawing conclusions from it. By interpreting data, you can make informed decisions about the direction of the change.

Measuring KPIs

To track the progress of the change, you need to identify and measure key performance indicators. It includes metrics such as employee satisfaction, productivity, and customer satisfaction. By measuring KPIs, you can identify areas where the change has a positive impact and areas where improvement is needed.

Data Analysis

Once you have collected and interpreted the data, you need to perform data analysis. It involves piercing the data together to identify relationships and trends. By performing data analysis, you can get a deeper understanding of how the change impacts the company.

Analytical Tools

Today, change managers employ advanced tools and software to help them in their work. You need to be adept at using these tools to get the most accurate data. Some of the most popular tools used by change managers include Whatfix, StarTeam, ChangeGear Change Manager, Process Maps, Force Field Analysis, and Stakeholder Analysis.

Organization Skills

The success of change initiatives depends on the effective organization of various tasks and resources. As a change manager, you need to be skilled in organizing people and resources. It includes developing project plans, creating timelines, and assigning tasks to team members. By effectively managing the change process, you can ensure that a change initiative is working smoothly.

Following are some tips for organizing your work:

Create a Timeline

One of the best ways to organize your work is to create a timeline. It will help you track the progress of the change and identify any potential delays. By creating a timeline, you can ensure that the change is implemented on time and within budget.

Change management principles

Set Priorities

Setting priorities involves identifying the most important tasks and focusing on them first. You can ensure that all tasks are completed on time by setting priorities. It will help you achieve the desired outcomes of the change.

Allocate Resources

To implement a change program, you need to allocate resources. It includes both financial and human resources. By allocating resources, you can execute the change correctly.

FAQs

Here are answers to some of most asked questions regarding change management:

What skills do you need for change management?

To lead change management activities within an organization, you need several skills. Some vital change management skills include excellent communication, interpersonal skills, strong change management, and problem-solving skills. Along with these skills, you need to be adept in change management methodologies and understand organizational dynamics. Analytical and statistical skills also come in handy while leading change management initiatives.

What makes a good change manager?

The job of a change manager is quite challenging and demanding. If a change manager wants to have a successful career in change management, he or she must possess certain traits. The most vital trait for a change manager is the ability to be flexible and adapt to changing situations.

They should have good problem-solving skills, communication, interpersonal skills, and change management skills. The change manager should also work effectively with people from different backgrounds. They need to analyze various business processes and understand the impacts of change before implementing them.

What is a change management skill?

A change management skill is the ability to manage changes to minimize disruption and negative impacts. It includes planning and managing organizational structures, processes, and people changes. Change management skills are essential for any organization undergoing change, whether a small company implementing a new strategy or a large corporation relocating its operations. Effective change management skills can help an organization smoothly transition to a new state and avoid costly mistakes.

 


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a Change Manager’s role, we recommend taking our HR Management Course, where you will learn how to build your skill set in managing change, build your human resources network, craft a great change manager resume, and create a successful job search strategy in the change management field.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.