Differences Between Change Management Roles

Changes are most successful when they are embraced by all levels of management. Sometimes, new roles or responsibilities are assigned to design, implement, and monitor change. When all facets of management are working toward a common goal, change can be easily woven into the corporate culture.

Types of Change

Organizational changes sometimes occur when executives outline a strategy to control costs or streamline operations. Other types of changes occur in response to demands from customers and suppliers. The source of the change often affects the way different managers respond. It is important that everyone embrace the change, no matter the source. Executives should communicate with middle management to smoothly implement top-down changes. Middle management should communicate with senior management and executives to smoothly implement change that is in response to operational demand.

Executive Roles

When executives and senior management visibly support the change, it is more likely to be successful, according to Prosci’s Roles in Change Management Model.  If the change was proposed at the executive level, top managers should see it through, rather than delegating and moving on. If the change was proposed by another sector of management, executives should familiarize themselves with the plan, and provide necessary feedback and adjustments. Responsibilities in change management include:

  • Staying visible throughout implementation of the change
  • Serving as role models by adapting to the change
  • Delegating the tasks of implementing the change
  • Communicating updates to all employees

Middle Management Roles

Managers who deal directly with customers, employees, and suppliers offer a valuable perspective in understanding when a change is necessary, and how change can be implemented seamlessly. It is important to communicate your observations to senior managers, and to help the employees you supervise understand the reasoning behind the change. Responsibilities in change management include:

  • Building a case for change when you see opportunities to better serve customers.
  • Creating a positive atmosphere in your work environment.
  • Seeking clarification when necessary to make sure you have correctly incorporated the change.
  • Advocating for the employees, customers, and suppliers you work with.
  • Guiding your employees as they transition into the change.

Support Staff Roles

Employees who work in areas such as human resources, public relations, and employee development are responsible for staying up to date with organizational changes that affect employees and corporate culture. Change management responsibilities include:

  • Revising documents such as employee handbooks, performance review metrics, training guides, sales programs, press releases, and mission statements.
  • Giving input to project management and change management from your perspective.
  • Seeking clarification when necessary to make sure you have correctly implemented the change.

Special Project Roles

When a change is underway, some organizations bring in employees or consultants to help implement the procedures. Having employees dedicated to a smooth transition betters the odds of success. Change management specialists work with management and support staff to address concerns and make sure the transition runs smoothly. Responsibilities include:

  • Strategizing the change while keeping the goals of the organization in mind.
  • Creating a plan for implementing the change that applies to all facets of the organization.
  • Working directly with managers and support staff to explain how the change pertains to all roles.
  • Implementing the technical elements of the change.

Marissa Elner

Marissa Selner earned a B.A. in Communication from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. She has been writing business columns since 2007.

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