What is a Change Management Plan, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Change Management Plan
A Change Management Plan details the “planning” phase that is present in the majority of change management models (e.g., Kotter’s 8-Step Change Management Process). More specifically, a Change Management Plan strategically lays out factors such as the budget, timeline, breadth, communication plan and needed and/or required resources for the change process. A detailed plan, especially for a complex change management initiative can more easily be communicated to others, including key stakeholders and employees.
The elements within a change plan will help to mitigate the negative impact of the change on the overall business as well as individual employees, organizational stakeholders and its clients. Additionally, a step-by-step plan for implementing a change program will help to ensure that the actual execution of the plan will closely resemble the idealized change vision.
Description of Change Management Plan
Creating a Change Management Plan typically involves six steps.
Step 1: Make the case for change. Clearly explain why the organization is in need of a change program. It is dangerous to assume that all relevant parties understand the reason for change. Further, when individuals have a clear understanding of the idea, they are more likely to support it.
Step 2: Establish the scope of the change program. Completing this step will involve considering which organizational parties will be affected, what functions/processes/operations/programs will be different and how policies, job tasks and organizational hierarchies will change.
Step 3: Form the change management team and identify relevant stakeholders. The change management team will be responsible for actually executing the change and is accountable for its operation. Given the importance of this team, carefully consider who the members will be and appoint a highly competent leader.
Step 4: Communicate the advantages of the change program. Ensure that these are circulated to employees at all levels of the organization.
Step 5: Set feasible milestones. By establishing and reaching milestones, your change management team can see the return on their efforts, which will incentivize them to continue making progress toward the change goal. In addition, creating benchmarks is an easy way to show other relevant stakeholders and organizational employees the progress of the change program. Demonstrating progress will help to secure support for the change program.
Step 6: Plan how your team will communicate to and engage relevant stakeholders in the change process. In addition to the content of your communication plan (i.e., communicating the benefits and progress of the change program), it is important to establish a consistent schedule for updating organizational members. Doing so helps to build trust in the change team and process. Employees should be given the chance to ask questions, should be aware of what information can be shared and how often they will be given updates. Updates can be communicated virtually or in person.
In addition to the developing a plan for the change management process, the change management plan should also include steps for reinforcing its effects once the change has been implemented. Reinforcement mechanisms should be intentionally implemented so employees’ behaviors do not revert to the old way of doing things. Training, webinars, all-hands meetings, and other activities can keep people engaged and moving forward.
Tools & Templates
Plotting out each step and its associated activities can help to visually represent the Change Management Plan. Change management plans can be created in a PowerPoint, on white board, a spreadsheet or other documents.
upBOARD's Online Change Management Plan Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Change Management Planning techniques, upBOARD’s online Change Management Plan collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other change management best practice tools and templates, including:
AIM Accelerated Implementation Methodology, Beckhard & Harris Change Process, Boston Consulting Group Change Delta, Brainstorming, Bridges’ Leading Transition Model, Burning Platform, Case for Change, Change Fatigue, Change Management Curve, Change Management Impact Analysis, Change Management Maturity Model, Change Management Levers, Change Management Plan, Change Management Roadmap, Change Proposal, Change Readiness Assessment, Change Resistance Management Plan, Change Risk Assessment, Change Success Metrics, Communications Planning, Core Values, Deming Change Cycle, EASIER Change Management, Employee Engagement Plan, Feedback Capture Grid, Focus Groups, Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture, GE Change Acceleration Process, Go-Live Planning, Head, Heart and Hands Model, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, Kubler Ross Change Curve, Lewin’s Change Management Model, Maurer’s 3 Levels of Resistance, Nudge Change Model, People Centered Implementation, Performance Support, Process Mapping, Sponsor Roadmap, Stakeholder Analysis, Stakeholder Interviews, Switch Change Framework, User Acceptance Testing, VRIO Framework and What’s In It For Me (WIIFMs).