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Hybrid working: change management
Hybrid working: change management

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2.2 Situation assessment

Having identified the change you want to make, it is useful to carry out a situation assessment to help consider the elements of your change initiative and plan how to have better conversations with your stakeholders.

We look at stakeholders in more detail later in the course.

The content of a situation assessment often includes:

  • Change characteristics – begin by understanding the change that is being introduced. Why are you undertaking the change, what are the drivers, what are the desired outcomes, how will you measure the change’s success? Changes can be formalised projects, strategic initiatives or even small adjustments to how the organisation operates. Understanding the characteristics of the change requires you to answer questions like: What is the scope of the change? How many people will be impacted? Who is being impacted? Are people being impacted the same way, or are they experiencing the change differently? What is being changed – processes, systems, job roles, etc.? What is the timeframe for the change?
  • Organisational attributes – next, work to understand the people and groups being impacted by the change. The organisational attributes are related to the history and culture in the organisation and describe the backdrop against which this change is being introduced. What is the perceived need for this change among employees and managers? How have past changes been managed? Is there a shared vision for the organisation? How much change is going on right now?
  • Impacted groups – the final step in building your situational awareness is developing a map of who in the organisation is being impacted by the change and how they are being impacted. A single change – say, the deployment of a web-based expense reporting system – will impact different groups very differently. Employees who do not have expenses to report will not be impacted at all. Staff who travel once a quarter will be only slightly impacted. Associates who are on the road all the time will be more impacted, although filing expenses is only a portion of their day-to-day work. For those in accounting who manage expense reporting, however, their jobs will be completely altered. Outlining the impacted groups and showing how they will be impacted enables specific and customised plans later in the change management process.

Activity 3 Evidence for change

Timing: 20 minutes

Watch the video in which Dr Nick Barratt, Director, Learner and Discovery Services at The Open University, explains the evidence for leading change at The Open University as they adapt to new ways of working following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Video 2 Evidence for leading change
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Then read the blog article by the change management company Prosci, 'Before you act, consider these keys to preparing for change' [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (Creasey, n.d.), which looks at the key activities you need to undertake when planning change management.

Drawing on the video and the article, answer the questions below for the change initiative you chose for Activity 2.

  • What is the evidence that the change is required/why are you being asked to make this change?
  • What evidence do you have, or do you need to gather, to make better decisions to support your change?
  • What is the outcome you are hoping to achieve from the change?
  • What evidence will you need to demonstrate the impact/outcomes?

Use the text box below to capture your reflections, if you wish.

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Understanding why you need to make the change and what the expected outcomes are, prior to starting the change management process, is the essential first step. Evidence to support the decision should be gathered, reviewed and agreed, often best encapsulated in a situation assessment.

In the next section we start to consider how the assessment of the situation can influence your change management process.