Change is a part of every project, whether it is in the form of transforming processes, embracing new technology, improving workflows, or going through mergers and acquisitions.
However, it’s not simply processes and strategies that are affected when organizations undergo transitions – employees and stakeholders are also impacted by changes.
An organization can only succeed in implementing lasting change if employees and the people impacted are on board and do not resist the change.
Thus, instead of focusing on processes and the enterprise alone, it’s important to help individuals transition into their new roles. Conducting a change management impact assessment is one way to close the gap between an organization’s current state and its future state.
This helps develop structured change management which takes all stakeholders into account and becomes the foundation for the entire change management process.
What Is a Change Management Impact Assessment?
A change management impact assessment determines how different stakeholder groups are affected as an organization moves from its current state to its future state.
This includes impact on people, processes, data, policies, and more. Thus, change impact assessments identify stakeholders in the process and the risks and benefits posed to them to determine the impact on them.
According to Praxie, a change management impact assessment focuses on gathering the following information:
- The resources needed for change implementation
- The tasks required for change implementation
- The team members involved in the change and their responsibilities
- The consequences of the change
- Paperwork that must be filled out and approved
A change impact assessment provides valuable information that informs other change processes, including:
- Type and level of training required
- Communication required
- The need for change agents and where they are needed
- Job role guides and documentation that are required
- Where leaders will face resistance
- Processes and system changes that will take place
Also read: A Detailed Guide To Change Risk Assessment
Change Management Impact Assessment: Importance and Benefits
A change impact assessment is a critical tool that helps companies gather actionable data and develop the best possible change management strategies based on that data.
Projects and change initiatives fail when those affected don’t adapt to the new requirements and aren’t adequately prepared for the change.
Change management helps eliminate some of this uncertainty, and change impact assessments allow change leaders to gather the information that informs their strategies on training, communication, etc.
In fact, projects that utilize change management assessments are six times more likely to achieve project objectives than those that do not use change management assessments.
In addition to aiding in the development of a change management strategy, conducting a change impact assessment also has numerous other benefits. Some of the most significant ones are detailed below.
Aids in Understanding the Scope of a Project
Change initiatives often fail because of ineffective change management. Change impact assessments help determine the scope of a project beforehand and allow change leaders to develop change management strategies that will lead to success.
Additionally, it’s easy to miss an area of impact when change implementation is ongoing. By conducting a change management impact assessment beforehand, change leaders can identify blind spots and ensure no important areas of impact are overlooked.
Helps Determine the Effect on Ongoing Operations
Since a change management impact assessment helps note the effect of the change, it helps an organization understand how the ongoing business will be impacted.
If business operations will be disrupted by the change, organizations will have a chance to prepare for this beforehand, develop contingency plans, and devise solutions before the problem snowballs.
Guides Implementation Planning
One of the main advantages of change impact assessments is their ability to predict how the impact will be distributed through implementation.
Understanding how the different components will impact functions and people helps guide implementation planning and allows change leaders to reduce impact or guide change in a way that is less disruptive to processes.
It can also guide budget allotment and indicators for what needs to be monitored during the implementation process.
Engages Stakeholders and Collects Feedback
Since change impact assessments focus on the effect on stakeholders, they ensure all key stakeholders are accounted for.
In addition to considering the impact on all stakeholders, this also allows organizations to engage stakeholders and collect direct feedback them the parties involved. This is an invaluable asset when it comes to determining the final change management strategy.
Because employees are engaged, they understand the change and its impact, and may even be empowered by this knowledge.
Assists in Identifying and Addressing Important Components
Since change impact assessments break down different areas of impact, they also help organizations identify the most important areas they need to address.
These critical components can be tackled first, and organizations may even put forth pilot programs or develop proof-of-concept before fully transitioning to control the impact.
Change impact assessments allow change leaders to put themselves into their team members’ and other impacted parties’ shoes and thus, build empathy.
Because they better understand how the change is going to affect stakeholders, they’re better able to respond to problems and come up with more effective solutions.
Conducting a Change Impact Assessment
There are many different ways to conduct a change impact assessment, all of which focus on the gap between the current state and future state.
However, different organizations and applications have their own approaches to this process. According to Praxie, the following steps are involved in a change management impact analysis:
- Determining the order in which to perform change tasks
- Deciding whether these tasks are essential for organizational survival
- Establishing the cost of the change initiative
- Evaluation by taking benefits, risks, and resource consumption into account
- Sharing the results of the impact analysis with stakeholders to decide whether or not to pursue the change initiative
On the other hand, Prosci’s 10 Aspects of Change Impact model consists of ten aspects that take all factors of change into account. These include:
- Job Roles
- Critical behaviors
- Mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes
- Reporting structure
- Performance reviews
The framework is particularly effective because it takes differences between groups into account. Since change impacts various groups in different ways, it ensures that all impact at the individual level is considered.
Summary and Conclusion
Change is inevitable if an organization wants to grow and improve. Understanding the impact on employees and other stakeholders is a key part of change implementation and allows organizations to better prepare their change management strategy.
By taking the individuals within an organization into account, organizations can ensure that resistance is taken care of and all individuals make a successful personal transition so they can move the organization and its vision forward.
Thus, conducting a change impact assessment is a vital tool for any change management planning journey.