Operational change managers coordinate and oversee all aspects of the change process to ensure that changes are carried out without disruptions. Their ultimate goal is to help organizations achieve their objectives by ensuring that changes are executed smoothly and efficiently.
They work closely with senior managers and other key stakeholders to develop change management plans that take into account the people. In addition, operational change managers also support training efforts to help employees adjust to the new changes.
If your business is having a tough time managing all the changes happening within the organization, it might be helpful to hire an operational change manager.
Organizations are evolving more rapidly than ever before. Every day, workplaces have to deal with numerous changing conditions, such as new technologies, processes, and regulations. To keep up with the pace of change business landscape, organizations rely on operational change managers to help them manage and implement changes effectively.
This guide will give you all the information about what operational change managers do, their duties, and the skills they need to be successful. So, let's get started.
What Does an Operational Change Manager Do?
To create a comprehensive change manager job description and hire the right operational change manager, employers need to know about the role and responsibilities of these professionals. Learning about it is also crucial for the aspirants looking to pursue a career in this field. So, here's what operational change managers do:
Creating Change Management Strategies
Creating and implementing change management strategies is one of the most important duties of an operational change manager. These strategies help organizations deal with changes in a planned and structured manner. In addition, change management strategies also help to minimize the risks associated with changes.
The change manager is responsible for developing these strategies after consulting with senior managers and other key stakeholders. Once they develop plans, they must implement the changes accurately.
Coordinating Change Management Activities
Communication and coordination are vital for optimizing business processes. Change managers play a crucial role in coordinating all the change management activities within an organization.
They have to ensure that all the team members involved in the change management process are on the same page. They coordinate with stakeholders, employees, and other relevant parties to ensure that everyone is aware of the changes and knows what they need to do.
They also develop communication plans to keep employees informed about the changes. These communication plans help reduce any confusion or anxiety employees might have about the changes.
Creating Training Programs
Employees often resist change initiatives because they are not familiar with the new processes or technologies. Operational change managers help employees adjust to the changes by developing an effective training plan.
These programs educate employees about the new changes and help them understand how these changes will impact their work. In addition, training programs also help employees learn the new skills they need to be successful in the changing environment. To create effective training programs, you need to understand the needs of employees, their level of expertise, and their learning preferences.
Integrating Change Management Activities with Project
Change management is not a standalone process; it must be integrated with other business processes to be effective. Operational change management integrates change management activities with other project processes.
They work closely with project managers and other relevant parties to align change management activities with the project schedule. It helps to avoid any delays or disruptions in the project. Integrating change management and project management can be challenging, but it is essential for the success of a business.
Monitoring and Evaluating Change
Once change management professionals implement a change initiative, it is vital to monitor and evaluate its progress. It helps them identify any issues or problems that they need to address. A change manager is responsible for monitoring and assessing the changes to ensure that they have the desired effect.
They track various metrics to gauge the success of the changes. They also conduct surveys and interviews to get feedback from employees and other stakeholders. Based on the results of the monitoring and evaluation, they make recommendations for improvements.
Defining and Measuring Success Metrics
Metrics are an essential constituent of any business process. Metrics are the indicators of success or failure. As a change manager, you have to identify and measure success metrics to better implement a change process. These metrics will help you track the progress of the changes and identify any areas that need improvement.
Once you have identified the metrics, you need to develop a plan for measuring them. This plan should include how you and your team will collect the data, how often it will be collected, and how it will be analyzed. You also need to understand what the data means and how you can use it to improve the change process.
Change managers face numerous obstacles on their way to the successful implementation of a change process. There are always risks associated with any change initiative, and it is the responsibility of the change manager to identify and assess these risks. Change managers also need to understand the organization's risk tolerance clearly. It helps them identify the acceptable level of risk and make decisions accordingly.
You need to develop risk management plans to mitigate the impact of these risks. For creating a risk mitigation plan, you need to be adept in risk mitigation tactics and techniques. Such tactics enable you to reduce the impact of risks and make the organizational change process more successful.
Coaching Projects Teams
Project teams have to go through operational changes while working on a project. Dealing with these changes can be challenging for project teams. They are often resistant to change as it can disrupt their work. As a change manager, you need to overcome this resistance and help teams embrace the changes. You can do this by communicating the benefits of the changes and assisting the teams in understanding how the changes will improve their work.
You need to coach project teams so that they can work in an evolving workplace. Coaching plays a key role in helping teams to understand the changes, develop new skills, and adapt to the new environment. You can also help teams identify the resources they need to implement the changes.
Assessing the Performance of Project Teams
Coaching a project team is not enough; change management also involves assessing their performance. It helps identify areas where the team is struggling and needs further support. It also allows you to gauge the team's progress and see if they are making the desired impact. Identifying the pitfalls in an operational change process can be difficult without performance appraisal.
Operational change managers use various methods to assess the performance of project teams. These include interviews, surveys, focus groups, and data analysis. They use data collected from these assessment methods to improve the change process.
Documenting the Changes
Documentation is an important part of any change process. It helps to track the progress of the changes and ensure that they are being implemented as planned. As a change manager, you are responsible for documenting the changes. You need to keep a record of all the documents related to the change process. It includes project plans, risk management plans, documents related to training and coaching, and other important correspondence.
Without documentation, it is difficult to track the progress of a change process. Documentation also helps to identify any issues that you need to address. It is a valuable tool for evaluating the success of a change process.
Developing Policies for Change Management Plan
Policies are an essential part of any change management plan. They carry out the change process in a controlled and consistent manner. Developing strong policies is one of the crucial change manager responsibilities.
You need to develop policies that cover all aspects of the change process. Change management policies should be reviewed and updated regularly. You need to align these policies with the goals of the organization. They should also be flexible enough to accommodate the organization's changing needs
Change management is a vast industry, and the operational change manager role is a specialized one. Change managers need to have specific skills and knowledge to succeed in this role. Following are some requirements that you must fulfill to excel in the change management field
Understanding of Change management Principles
You need to have a solid understanding of change management principles. It will help you to carry out your duties in an effective manner. Change management principles include:
- Understand your organization's culture
- Lead others actively
- Build a solid vision to guide the change process
- Communicate the change process effectively
- Keep your vision in your mind
- Develop a plan to cope with unexpected events
- Monitor and adjust the change process
These principles enable you to understand the basics of change management. It is necessary to have a good understanding of these principles if you want to be successful in your role as an operational change manager.
Project Management Experience
Experience enables you to understand the dynamics of a change process. The project management approaches help you identify the potential risks and issues associated with a change project. Project management experience is essential for the operational change manager role.
You need to have experience in leading and managing projects. It will help you to understand the different stages of a change process. It will also enable you to develop the necessary skills to cope with the challenges of a change project.
Conflict Resolution Skills
When you are dealing with change, conflicts are unavoidable sometimes. As a change manager, you need to have strong conflict resolution skills. You should be competent enough to dig deep into the root cause of a conflict and resolve it constructively.
You need excellent communication and negotiation skills for this purpose. You should be able to build strong relationships with various parties and find common ground between them to work towards a resolution that is acceptable to all.
Strong Analytical Skills
Analytical skills and critical thinking are required to understand the data collected during the change process. You need to identify the trends and patterns in the available data. It will help you to make better decisions about the change process.
You can use different tools and techniques for data analysis. It includes statistical methods, data mining, and predictive modeling. You can also use advanced analytical tools like data visualization and business intelligence to make the change process more efficient.
Strong Business Acumen
A solid understanding of business and the various processes involved in it enables you to make better decisions about the change process. Acute business acumen helps you understand the impact of a change on multiple business functions. It also allows you to assess the risks associated with a change process.
Change management is not just about technical aspects. It is also about understanding the business and its goals. So, you must have strong business acumen to be successful in your role as a change manager.
There are no specific educational qualifications for an operational change manager. However, having a degree in business administration or HR management can be helpful.
Employers also prefer change managers with a project management certification from a reputed institute. Some of the popular certifications for change managers include Certified Change Manager (CCM), Prosci Certified ADKAR Professional (PCAP), and Certified Change Management Professional (CCMP).
Operational change managers can also benefit from having a master's degree in business administration or a related field. MBA programs with a specialization in change management can help you understand the concepts and principles of change management in depth.
What is operational change management?
Operational change management is a process that helps organizations to manage the changes that occur in their operational processes. It helps ensure that these changes are made in a controlled and safe manner. Operational change management deals with all the changes in an organization's day-to-day operations.
It is a proactive approach that helps organizations to anticipate and plan for any organizational change that might occur in the future. It includes changes to processes, systems, and even organizational structures.
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.