Managing Change

At CALMC, we often help organizations manage change. People often resist change, even when they do not like the current procedures. They know them, and even if they do not like the process, they are more comfortable with it than the unknown that may result from change.

Whether it is a small change or a major systemic shift, no improvements in any workplace are possible without change. We have had the opportunity to help bring about significant cultural changes in organizations, and believe involving employees in the process makes the change process easier.

Recently, the Labor-Management Partnership team at Kaiser Permanente published a list of “10 Essential Tips” for managing organizational change. We have quoted from them in the past, due to their exemplary record of labor-management cooperation and employee involvement. Here is their list, along with some additional points from our experience.

1. Clearly communicate reasons for the change.

2. Make it safe to voice concerns throughout the change process.

3. Identify team members mostly likely to resist the change and give them key roles.

4. Involve naysayers as early and as often as possible to minimize grumbling.

5. Develop a common understanding of the change, getting everyone’s point of view: What’s being done now and what will be done differently?

6. Engage everyone affected, including physicians, members of other departments and your team sponsor.

7. Identify specific enablers and barriers to implementation—areas that will require greater attention.

8. Allow team members to identify solutions and make decisions that affect them most.

9. After each test of change, recognize and reward contributing team members at huddles and meetings. Use these small wins to increase credibility and keep the momentum going.

10. Accept failures—and talk about what can be learned from them.

This is a great list that extends well beyond Kaiser’s health care systems. We would like to add four additional points:

11.  Training – Provide help for everyone so they can better understand the change process and how it will impact them. Training prior to implementing change can help those involved feel more comfortable with what is coming. Explain the specifics of how the change will impact them and their jobs and help them understand the importance of their new roles.

12.  Coaching – Provide continuing assistance to help everyone through the process. Not everyone adopts change at the same rate.  Individual assistance will bring everyone along through the change process.

13. Do not let the naysayers control the process. Sometimes we feel the need to convince everyone they should go along with the change. We spend so much time trying to convince the negative people we begin to lose the others we need to support the change.

14. Be patient – Someone wrote people change at three speeds: slow, slower, and slowest. Those involved in planning the new process may be impatient to see their ideas implemented. The training, coaching, and ongoing support will help move the process forward, just not as fast as some might like.

What ideas do you have about helping bring about change? Let us know, and we will include them in a future blog.


About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at
This entry was posted in Employee Engagement, Employee Involvement, Managing Change, Teamwork and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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