Changing any part of your professional services firm can cause confusion and disruption among your team. People often don’t like change, but sometimes it’s necessary for your firm to drive growth and efficiency. Here, we explore the importance of change management and break down the different stages involved.
What is change management?
Change management refers to the strategies you use to ensure everyone is on board with any changes you’re making, helping you boost adoption and utilisation rates. Whether this is a simple or complex change, you should look at how your teams, from junior-level consultants to senior management, will be affected.
4 stages of an effective change management strategy
Change management should play a big role in the change you’re making. By taking the time to explain to your stakeholders the reasons for change, you can encourage them to buy into your vision. Let’s take a closer look at how you can develop an effective change management strategy:
- Develop the right mindset
- Bring in an external innovator
- Adopt the right technology
- Stakeholder management
1. Develop the right mindset
Any change can seem daunting to your key stakeholders. However, by developing the right mindset towards why it needs to happen, you can align your teams and decrease employee resistance.
First, you’ll need to identify the benefits it’ll bring, such as enhancing your consultant’s efficiency in their day-to-day tasks. These should be communicated consistently at all stages during your transformation journey, ensuring your stakeholders remain on the same page.
After all, just because you have high stakeholder engagement at the start of the project doesn’t mean that your people will agree with your vision throughout the entire process. For example, they might change their minds or leave the business, which means you’ll have to work on engaging new people.
You should also focus on creating a culture where all ideas are welcomes and valued. Gaining your teams opinions and assessing them against your current change goals and expected outcomes helps you to:
- Encourage further collaboration towards the project, making them feel part of the change
- Be creative with new, unconventional ideas that could've been raised from your internal meetings
2. Bring in an external innovator
By working with a third-party business that has managed change for other firms in the professional services industry, they’ll be able to help you plan, prepare, and execute your transformation project.
You can experience:
- Better user adoption rates
- Boosted return on investment from your transformation
- Increased chances of success
Bringing in external innovators can also combat the challenge of change fatigue. Coming out of the pandemic, you’ll have likely altered your teams’ roles and responsibilities. However, too many changes can result in employees becoming disengaged with any future transformations you make.
Working with a third party helps boost engagement and productivity as they can introduce workshops and training initiatives to reduce any confusion, friction, and fatigue across your firm.
3. Adopt the right technology
The role of the right technology in change management allows you to communicate effectively with your employees about why the change is happening. For example, it’s found that 50% of change management efforts fail, with one of the reasons being the lack of awareness of change around the organisation.
With the increase of hybrid working in professional services, it might not be possible to communicate change face-to-face. Technology such as Microsoft Teams enables you to guide your teams along the change curve through the touchpoints necessary, regardless of where they’re based.
Additionally, adopt the technologies that can do most of the heavy lifting for your resource utilisation, like a professional services automation (PSA) tool. With a PSA tool, you'll be able to:
- View improvements in your resource utilisation with predictive analytics for the best outcomes of your project
- Gain more clarity with your business performance through time and expense management tools
- Analyse whether you have the right expertise available to start other tasks during your transformation
Read more about the benefits of a PSA tool here.
4. Stakeholder management
Effective stakeholder management ensures your people are well informed of the changes you’re making. For example, holding weekly one-to-ones allows you to gain employee input and answer their questions on an ongoing basis.
Through smaller meetings, certain team members may feel more confident to be upfront and honest about the change, so you can increase their overall engagement by answering their queries about the project.
You’ll also have to communicate effectively with your clients. If they’re resistant to change, it’ll directly impact the reputation you have with them. Here are a few ways to improve your client management:
- Identify their concerns – start by testing the changes with them to see how they react before going live
- Manage their expectations – help them understand how their journey will change by being transparent about what they can expect before, during, and after the project has finished
- Be flexible with your change – client demands are forever changing in the professional services industry, so be open and flexible to adapt to new technologies that better serve their needs
Learn more about how to create a successful change management strategy
Now you’re aware of some of the key stages within change management, how can you create a strategy that’s the best fit for your firm? In our roadmap to successful change management, we cover the recommended approach to managing change, including:
- Establishing and promoting your visions
- Assessing the impact change will have on your firm
- Executing change, from building change networks to measuring effect and progress
Get your copy here.
Why embracing change is essential to growth
The professional services industry is becoming more turbulent than ever, meaning you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve to overcome the several obstacles facing your firm today. In our infographic, we cover both the strategic and operational challenges, as well as:
- Why digital transformation is the key to success
- The four key steps to achieving digital transformation, including the importance of adopting a value-first mindset and developing an effective change management strategy
Interested? Download it below.