Doing Organizational Change Management Remotely

Published by Judy Melson

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”
–Robin Sharma

For most organizations, teams are facing a flurry of change in 2020 – not just technology and business changes, but also lifestyle changes due to the pandemic and working remotely. Organizational Change Management (OCM) helps ensure that, not only do you reach the “gorgeous at the end” part of change, but that the business is ready and individuals are able and willing to participate in the change. Given all the challenges this year, what are some ways Highlands Consulting is helping our clients do OCM remotely?

Support Managers and Supervisors

About 40% of managers express low self confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely. Yet, leadership plays a very important role in preparing teams for change, especially with regards to morale and communications. A remote OCM team can help support leaders, by:

  • Preparing discussion starters, talking points, and targeted communications to make it easier for them to talk about change with their staff.
  • Offering virtual coaching sessions to help them work through any issues or risks from their team related to the change.

Engage Teams in Social Activities

It is important to acknowledge the mental toll of working remotely, which may lead to feelings of isolation, burnout, or stress. I have recently seen positive results, where OCM teams have invested in the following activities:

  • Setting aside time for social connection with a virtual lunchtime chat or happy hour.
  • Starting each meeting with an icebreaker to gauge how the team is feeling.
  • Scheduling mindfulness sessions to reduce stress, improve focus, and increase productivity through guided meditations and breathing techniques.

Leverage Online Collaboration Tools

Explore creative ways to keep the team engaged online.  We are helping our client teams focus their attention and feel accountable by:

  • Soliciting input from each participant throughout meetings and thanking them for contributing.
  • Utilizing breakout rooms with small groups (<4) when a large group can be intimidating.
  • Evolving our use of remote tools like MS Teams, as well as methods for virtual meeting facilitation.

While I have enjoyed delivering OCM for many years, this year has helped me find innovative ways to help our client teams embrace change at all levels.