What is a Change Risk Assessment, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Change Risk Assessment
A Change Risk Assessment is one possible method to evaluate the risk associated with a particular change management initiative. Change Risk Assessments prevent the organization from being negatively affected by damaging aspects of a change program or changes that prevent individuals from doing their jobs. Risk assessments are particularly critical because if the risk is properly identified, better strategies can be enacted for handling problems that arise, and the change management program will receive a more thorough assessment, which increases the likelihood of success.
Description of Change Risk Assessment
Change Risk Assessments require that those associated with the change management project discuss the risk with those who will be affected by the change management program. In this discussion, the team should come prepared with questions to ask and thresholds that are unacceptable for the change management program to pass. Generally, the risks that should be focused on are costs, what other organizational functions or services will be affected by the change, and who will be affected by the change. As the conversation unfolds, it is likely that the team will develop additional questions to ask, which will help to develop a full understanding of the risks associated with a particular project.
Conducting a Change Risk Assessment requires that your team develop a risk value for the proposed change management initiative. In order to assess the risk value associated with a particular change management initiative, the change management team needs to develop a set of questions surrounding the aforementioned categories (e.g., cost, services, talent, etc.) that should be asked to those who are directly affected by the change program. The questions need to be specifically tailored to the organization. Before obtaining the responses, assign each question a weight that indicates the degree to which the questioned aspect of the change poses a smaller or larger risk to the success of the organization. Following the meeting with relevant change management stakeholders, calculate the total risk value by adding up all of the question weights according to their responses.
After calculating the risk value score, the number can be used to assess two main factors:
- The total amount of risk associated with a particular change management initiative. This information will allow executives to determine how much a particular change will affect the company.
- The breadth of impact the proposed change management initiative will have on organizational members. Specifically, this metric will provide information on how many employees the change management program will influence.
It is also important to keep in mind that questions that apply to some change management initiatives in the organization do not apply to all. Questions vary based on the size of the project, the number of resources that are available to handle the change initiative, and the overall goal that the project sets out to accomplish.
Tools & Templates
In order to calculate the risk value for a Change Risk Assessment, many teams use spreadsheets and other tools that quantify and calculate large amounts of data. Alternatively, a risk value can be calculated by hand.
upBOARD's Online Change Risk Assessment Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Change Risk Assessment techniques, upBOARD’s online risk assessment tools for change management 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:
ADKAR Change Management Model, AIM Accelerated Implementation Methodology, Beckhard & Harris Change Process, Boston Consulting Group Change Delta, Bridges’ Leading Transition Model, Burning Platform, Change Management Impact Analysis, Change Management Maturity Model, Change Management Plan, Change Management Roadmap, Change Readiness Assessment, Change Resistance Management Plan, Change Risk Assessment, Communications Planning, Deming Change Cycle, Focus Groups, 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, Nudge Change Model, People Centered Implementation, Performance Support, Process Mapping, Prosci Change Management Levers, Sponsor Roadmap, Stakeholder Analysis, Stakeholder Interviews, Switch Change Framework, User Acceptance Testing, VRIO Framework and What’s In It For Me (WIIFMs).