Last week’s article, Job Of A Change Manager, delved into the roles and responsibilities and attributes of a great change manager. We highlighted that the focus of change management is to mobilise people towards delivering results and outcomes. Finally, we provided a sample job description that can be tweaked based on the seniority of the role holder and scope of responsibilities.
If an organisation does not have a permanent position responsible for change but works with a consultant, the mentioned responsibilities can be incorporated into their work responsibilities. The change management consultant would likely assume the role of mentor and coach, help mediate and resolve conflicts, support change communication design, and delivery or provide training to educate employees on topics related to the ongoing or impending change. The consultant may also provide advise to the change teams or leadership teams on change assessments, strategies, and plans.
This week we explore the current trends on the placement of change management roles in the organisation. In 2018 Prosci© best practices in change management research, the most common location for change management was the Project Management Office (PMO) followed by Human Resources, and within business units or business operations. Other locations included Information Technology, Corporate Shared Services, Organisational Development, or as an Independent office.
East Africa trend
The trends in East Africa are like the reported global trends. We have observed that many private sector organisations host the change management role in the human resources department. This placement is premised on the knowledge that human resource is responsible for managing people and change management is charged with ensuring people affected by change are adequately equipped, supported, and managed through the change.
According to the 2018 Prosci© best practice in change management research, it came to light that human resources is not the preferred source of communication during the change process. Interestingly those impacted by change want to hear from the business leader or executive, or their line manager or immediate supervisor. Therefore, if the change management role is placed in human resources, the change manager needs to ensure that communication about the change is channeled through the business executives and line managers.
Also Read: The Role of HR In Managing Change
A second trend in the private sector is placing the change management role in the strategy department reporting to the CEO’s office. The supporting perspective is the recognition that strategic changes require significant shifts by staff to deliver business outcomes. Since the strategy department executes strategy and change management plays a pivotal role in value creation, it is therefore critical to settle it at a strategic level. The change manager may be called on to support strategy analysis, planning, and reporting as well as develop change management strategies and plans to mobilise people towards the intended business results.
The final trend in the East African private sector is the devolution of change management to business units. This is anchored on the thought that each unit must own the change process and deliver the results through its people.
In sharp contrast, the public and not for profit sectors sit change management as an independent unit charged with the delivery of various changes, monitoring and tracking benefits and reporting results to senior executives and occasionally to the Board of Directors.
Change management offices (CMO’s)
Leading organisations are shifting from a project to project application of change management to institutionalised change management processes, capabilities, and competencies as a competitive differentiator and organisational culture driver. This is called Enterprise Change Management which is the intentional deployment of change management across the organisation. Participants in the 2018 Prosci© best practice in change management research echoed this view and reported that they expect to see more organisations centralise the change management function into a Change Management Office (CMO) in the next five years. This office will be responsible for leading, managing, and coordinating changes in the organisation.
It is likely that this trend will be more widespread in East Africa in less than five years. Some organisations are already opting to create CMO’s to manage change implementation, oversee planning and prioritisation to minimise change saturation among the people, deploy change management resources to specific initiatives, track progress, results, and value delivery as well as coach leaders and teams. We anticipate that it will be very interesting to watch the changes and facilitate the growth of the same.
Written By Nyawera Kibuka
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Cedar Africa Group is Prosci’s primary partner in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.