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The role of Training in Effective Change Management

Ardent Learning

Too many organizations consider change management simply as a formal communication plan focused on announcing changes and aligning teams with new organizational priorities. It's often a belief that changes aren’t big enough to warrant training or that since the changes aren’t customer facing, an investment in training isn’t needed. The truth is that anything new in an organization should have some level of training and learning associated with it to help accelerate employees through the change successfully and minimize the cost associated with distracted or misaligned teams.

Why do you need to include training as part of change management?

  • Email isn’t enough: Employees need more than an announcement. While written communication is an essential first step, most teams need specific information and detailed guidance on what the change means to them. Even if there’s nothing to learn, like a new software or process, there still needs to be a transfer of knowledge. A company-wide rebrand, for instance, is less about learning a new skill and more about understanding a new concept. In all cases, employees learning about what’s new should also be learning about the why behind the change.
  • Resistance is real: For any change to be effective, there needs to be buy-in and an understanding of the "WIIFM" (What's in it for me?) associated with the change. People have a natural tendency to resist what’s new and unfamiliar, and simply rolling out a program while telling your organization that this is the new normal isn’t enough for most people to successfully function, never mind get excited about the shift. Training helps set teams up for success in the face of a new reality and helps them better understand how the change will be beneficial to their roles and the company. Overcoming this resistance and guiding employees regarding what they should expect (as well as what the expectation of them is) will lead to increased engagement and more successful change adoption.


How to successfully deliver training as part of change management

  • Decide on a flexible format: Change management training can take many forms. For high-level training, a live-stream event or pre-recorded web-based training can work to inform and educate teams. For learning new systems, there may be a need for role-playing activities via instructor-led or virtual instructor-led sessions, along with supporting process documentation materials. Deciding on what format to take will depend on your goals and your training group size.
  • Assign a point person: Even without an official change management group in your organization, someone should still lead individual change management efforts at the initiative level. A dedicated Change Leader needs to be able to accurately assess the skill/knowledge gap for employees between what they know now and what they will need to know to function in a changed environment. If a new scheduling software is rolling out to replace an old one, for instance, teams need to be taught the differences in functionality, an understanding that begins with stakeholders being able to identify and communicate those differences.
  • Take it slow: It’s not effective in most cases to conduct one massive training session as part of a change management plan. Rolling out shorter live trainings, then following up with job aids and reference materials, is a great method to help increase learning and retention. Having the ability to break down training into smaller components is also useful for quickly changing situations where businesses need to flex and adapt immediately – such as having an entire team transition to working remotely with new technology.

Corporate training is an essential component to successful change management. No matter what industry you’re in, training can help support effective change and handle the challenges that go along with it. Contact us today to find out how we can help strengthen your change management training efforts and bolster your business results.



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