What are great change management skills?

Change and managing change is one thing us HR folk are familiar with, when I say nothing stays the same for long in HR, I mean NOTHING! The last few years have highlighted this on an intense level, right?!

How you adapt to change is really what is important here, change will happen in spite of whether you want it to or not and as HR peeps we are usually right there at the front, digging through our toolkits for the magic wand to bring everyone along (if only hey!). I do genuinely believe that some leaders think this is how we get stuff done, powered by fairy dust – now wouldn’t that be a fine thing! 

In reality however, it takes great skill to deliver a change management programme for businesses and as much as I’d love to delve into a magical toolkit of wands, crystal balls and several pairs of hands it really is down to experience and developed skills. With over 20 years in the industry, it’s time to share some of the things I think are ‘handy’ to have in your toolkit to successful deliver change, and bring everyone with you, even those kicking and screaming!

Communication – Effective communication skills are the backbone of any great HR professional. Developing your communication strategy will be the first and, in my opinion, the most important step on any change programme. You’ll always face resistance to change, being prepared in your comms for this will help with engagement. It’s always useful to spend time planning out your comms programme ahead of the launch and leave some space for curveballs, no good plan is without them!

Active Listening – Again this is a skill that can and will serve you well when managing change. It’s a daunting time for everyone involved and while some will welcome the change, many don’t. You really want your change to make sense to employees, and by listening to their concerns and acting upon them it will give a sense of involvement and that’s a win-win. 

Leadership – No programme can be delivered single handed, building a trusted team around you to manage parts of the change will be key to its success. For me, choosing a team that will not be afraid to challenge you and give input is so important. No matter how much research you do beforehand there will always be curveballs or situations thrown up that need adjustments. 

My advice when embarking on a new change programme would be to reach out to others in your industry and your colleagues who may have gone through a change programme before and ask them for their experiences. Learning from others is a great way to develop, and it also helps you to avoid mistakes they’ve made. 

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What are great change management skills?