Change management in personnel development
How to implement eLearning or digital onboarding in your company
- What is change management
- Change process models
- The 5-step model
- Success factors in change management
- Stumbling blocks in change management
- Change management and HR
- Practical example: The change management process when introducing eLearning into your company
- Practical example: Your change management process for introducing digital onboarding
Do we really need a process for everything? No, not absolutely everything—but we definitely do when introducing changes in our company. People are creatures of habit: they tend to get used to processes that give them a certain level of security and comfort. Change means having to abandon habits and comfort zones, and this can be uncomfortable. Change also means doubt and uncertainty about what will happen next. People are afraid of the unknown and they worry about how changes will affect their lives. This shows how important it is to implement change in your company in a considered manner. A well thought-through change management process also provides structure, security, transparency, and efficiency for everyone involved in the project.
What is change management?
A change management process is used to implement organizational changes in your company in a structured and planned manner. The aim is to introduce change effectively and efficiently, without affecting work processes, employees, or customer satisfaction. Part of this is making sure all employees have sufficient information about the changes, and understand them, accept them, and identify with them. After all, they are the ones who will need to adapt their working methods to the new requirements. It is therefore important to plan your communication processes correctly right from the start, and to make sure that everyone affected is on board.
Change process models
Well-known models at a glance
There are a number of scientific models for change processes. Kurt Lewin, for example, developed a 3-step model, Wilfried Krüger a 5-step model, and John Kotter an 8-step model. The three-step model is often criticized as too short, and therefore as only skimming the surface. Conversely, the 8-step model is often considered too rigid, since it is not possible to skip any phase in the process.
The Krüger 5-step model draws on both of these models, thus creating more flexibility. And since we’re all for flexibility, let’s take a closer look at this model. Of course, it is important to note that all of these processes and individual steps represent good paths to take, and are better than leaving your processes unplanned: this can lead to crises, dissatisfaction, and confusion.
The 5-step model
The first phase is about recognizing actual need for change in the company. Change is often necessary when existing processes, strategies, or technologies in the company become outdated. The increasing shortage of skilled workers is another reason for change in companies, because not having enough staff means some rethinking is needed.
No concept, no solution; no plan, no straightforward path. Based on your need for change/your problem, you’ll need to develop a precise, comprehensible concept that includes specific goals. So don’t just consider the change you want; make sure you also spell out the improvements you are hoping for. After all, change for change’s sake is not a goal. If you’re planning to digitize training in your company, your goal is to attract skilled workers, provide impactful training efficiently, and ultimately make your company more successful.
This phase focuses on your current employees. They should be included in the journey from the outset in order to limit defensive reactions as far as possible from the get-go. You’re probably familiar with the refrain, “But we’ve always done it this way”—a typical indicator of lack of awareness of why change is needed or the way it can contribute to success. It is best to work even more closely with well-known “critics” and give them space to have their own input. People who have a hand in shaping change are usually the most supportive of it, and the ones who exemplify it. So take your employees on a journey, create high levels of transparency, and develop a communication strategy from the beginning that encourages your employees to get involved and be enthusiastic. Your goal is to ensure that the new concept is considered appropriate and accepted. In practice, it often transpires that many employees have reservations about change because they are concerned they will no longer be able to keep up. People are creatures of habit. Be prepared for their fears and worries, and remember that it is your responsibility to reassure your employees.
This is when things get practical. Look at your goals and plans, and set priorities. Start with the basic tasks, and then add follow-up projects. That way, everyone in the company will know which task needs to be completed when. Compare your work to building a house: You make a plan, set small goals, get the construction team on board, and make sure that the people who will be living in the new house are happy too. Lay the foundations before you build the first floor or do the interior design. Take it step by step, check your progress towards your goals, and keep an eye on whether all the individual initiatives are taking you to your desired overall result. You may have to intervene now and then and make adjustments, but stay flexible.
Your new house is standing; the residents have moved in. Now it’s about making sure that everyone stays put, that the process is right, that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and everyone feels comfortable. Stick to your path and reinforce it. Consolidate your initiatives and make them an integral part of your day-to-day working and processes. Fine-tune things when necessary, and remember: It is important that change simplifies life for your employees. And one more tip: If you have successfully led your company through your change management process, and through your planned changes, your employees will remember that you did. More change will come around the corner soon enough, and there’s nothing better than looking at a team that is motivated because they know the last challenge turned out well.
Success factors in the change management process
Clear leadership and support from top management is essential! This ensures that the changes are taken seriously by everyone involved.
Open and honest communication is essential, because this ensures that all employees are informed about the changes, understand them, and can put them into practice themselves.
Involve your employees in the change process as early as possible to create understanding and acceptance.
Develop your employees, as they may need new skills and knowledge to do their job effectively both during and after the change process.
Monitor your change process regularly and evaluate successes and failures. This will allow you to ensure that you remain on track and can intervene as necessary to make adjustments.
Stumbling blocks in the change management process
Some employees may see change as unwelcome, or as a threat to their jobs. This can easily make them resistant to change.
Lack of support:
If top management does not fully and actively champion change, employees will view changes as insignificant and unimportant.
Lack of communication:
If employees are not sufficiently informed about the changes or do not understand why they are necessary, they may resist them.
If employees do not have the necessary skills and knowledge to work effectively in the new environment, this can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.
Lack of monitoring and evaluation:
If progress with the change process is not regularly monitored and evaluated, it can be difficult to make adjustments if the process strays off course.
Change management and HR
As you can already see, change management and human resources (HR) are closely linked, as change is always connected to the people in a company and its organizational structure. HR plays an important role in supporting change management processes, especially with regard to employees. HR departments should be involved in change management processes right from the start. They can take on all communication with employees, and help with the potential development of individual employees.
HR helps with the planning of personnel strategy and requirements, to ensure that employees with the necessary skills and knowledge are available for the change process.
HR develops and delivers training programs to ensure that employees have the skills and knowledge they need to work effectively in the new environment.
HR encourages employees to participate in change processes in order to make sure they are informed and supported, and welcome the changes.
HR is usually responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies to ensure all employees are aware of the upcoming changes and understand why they are necessary.
The change management process when introducing eLearning in your company
The starting position
You have recognized that your company’s training costs are too high. In addition, skilled workers are in short supply and you now have to take the training of skilled workers into your own hands. You are also aware that many knowledgeable people will leave your company over the next few years through retirement. You want to “secure” this knowledge and pass it on to new employees.
The proposed solution
You think that eLearning offers precisely the right solution here. eLearning is cheaper than traditional training methods. eLearning makes it quick and easy to provide training to a large number of employees without the need for additional resources. eLearning is an important training method that needs to be flexible, cost-effective, scalable, timely, and impactful. It enables employees to be trained quickly and easily, regardless of location or time zone, and helps keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
Your change management process
We often hear people say that introducing eLearning is a mammoth task. Let us put your minds at rest on that score. We have set out the change process for you below. Sure, it’s only a short summary and doesn’t include all of the points—but these steps do give you a solid structure. And last but not least, don’t forget we are here to help and support you every step of the way; we’ll be happy to share our personal experience with you as you introduce your own eLearning.
Define the goals you want to achieve with eLearning. Analyze your company’s current learning and development processes taking your existing IT infrastructure and budget into account. Identify the needs of the target group and potential obstacles.
Define your strategies and the resources you need, and set out a schedule for introducing eLearning. In addition, set down the training needs of your employees, establish what you need from your eLearning solution, and consider outsourcing individual areas. Now get in touch with eLearning tools providers and develop a training plan (together with the provider). You should also prepare your internal communications.
Next, make your decision and identify which Learning Content Management System and learning platform you need. The necessary hardware and software infrastructure is being set up; your content is being developed. Are you ready? It’s time to train your employees and present and roll out your new eLearning system. You activate internal communications and set up feedback mechanisms to capture any improvements.
In this phase, you take a closer look: Is everything set up to run smoothly? As you check, keep gathering feedback from employees and make improvements. Management should also ensure take-up of eLearning is good and that it’s actually delivering the expected benefits.
Now it’s time to get down to business: This is the point at which you evaluate your digital training (your eLearning) and the entire change process. That way, you can determine whether the goals you set have been achieved, your training needs have been met, and the roll-out went smoothly. You can also check how your employees have taken the change, and identify opportunities for improvement.
Your change management process for introducing digital onboarding
The starting position
You have realized that your usual onboarding process costs too much time and is too resource-intensive. You also want to ensure onboarding is high-quality and provide greater flexibility during this period.
The proposed solution
You’ve already heard of digital onboarding. Digital onboarding is less expensive than traditional methods and ensures high-quality training, enabling you to set individual learning pathways and re-use content time and again.
Your change management process
Again, please note that the planning below provides only an initial idea of what the change process could might like and what you need to think about.
To start with, analyze the need for digital onboarding and define the different target groups that need to be taken into account. Note down the content (in which format) you need to make available in your digital onboarding. Once more, take a critical approach, determining whether digital onboarding is actually delivering the promised benefits, and ensuring that the goals you set can actually be achieved.
Now create a concrete plan for introducing your digital onboarding. Define your goals, set a timeline, and plan your resources. Also, remember to train the people you will need for the change process and work out how you will update all employees in your company—after all, your goal is for everyone to be supportive of the new initiative.
Let’s go. Create your content. Populate your learning platform with content; you may already have created and rolled out individual learning pathways. It is best to start with a pilot phase for testing before introducing digital onboarding officially. Run training sessions and keep all employees informed about progress with the project.
Now it’s all about optimization and stabilization. Take a close look at which processes you could optimize further, in relation both to digital onboarding and to the collaboration of all involved.
Time to assess your success. Digital onboarding goes under the microscope. Check whether you have achieved your goals and what improvements still need to be made. To do this, conduct surveys to gather feedback and share experiences of what digital onboarding feels like.
The bottom line.
A well thought-out and planned process helps you to implement changes in your company successfully and sustainably. It also creates structure for you and for all company employees. You have a roadmap and can make sure that new things are embedded effectively and efficiently in the company. Always keep your employees in mind—they are the ones who will need to support change and carry the project forward.