Article week 07 – 2024

Making Changes in the Company (more) successful

Change, Transformation, and further development are a concern for every company. Be it in customer service or in the entire company. In projects with major changes, the defined goals are (hopefully) achieved, but some of the company’s employees are often „lost“ if they are not sufficiently involved or informed. This can have far-reaching consequences and must be counteracted. And: the more projects are carried out in parallel or in quick succession, the stronger this effect can be.

Here is an example

A bank wants to expand the functionality of its (virtual) self-service area for customers. New software is to provide the corresponding functionalities. At the same time, new customer groups will be focused on in sales and marketing, and customer requests will be processed by a specialized service provider in the future. Roughly speaking, at least three parallel, but not necessarily related, projects can be identified here. That will mean a significant change for all bank employees. These projects will change many processes and familiar ways of working.

Not all employees are normally involved in the project phase. Only the employees directly involved in the project are aware of the issues and are motivated to work towards the project goals. If it is up to this group of people, the changes defined in the project are implemented quickly and with motivation. But how do the employees „uninvolved“ in the projects fare? What do they experience and how do they categorize the activities?

Such times of often disruptive change are confusing and sometimes unsettling for many employees, as they often assess the situation differently, are not convinced or do not know exactly what is happening in the project or what will change for them in the end. The result is, at best, a certain passivity and, at worst, resistance to the upcoming changes.

So how can this situation be sufficiently taken into account in a change project? How can you get as many employees as possible „on board“?


Clear and transparent communication is crucial. Explain to all employees (including those initially uninvolved) the reason for the change, the objectives and the benefits for the company from which they will also benefit. Various channels should be used for this internal communication, e.g. e-mails, intranet portals, training courses, meetings or handouts.

People and roles

It goes without saying that project participants should be assigned roles, but don’t forget to actively communicate these to all other employees. Define a „change officer“ as part of the project team. The change officer is not a superior, but an ambassador for the change in question and can communicate and discuss it at employee level.


Turn critics and passives into participants. Give these employees the opportunity to actively participate in the change process. Obtain regular feedback and mood assessments. Regular open meetings or special consultation hours can be introduced for this purpose. If necessary, incorporate the content of the feedback into the change process.

Preparation and training

Depending on the type of change, it may make sense to train employees in preparation for the new situation. This not only applies to software and digitalization change projects, but also makes sense for many other changes. This reduces uncertainty and prevents resistance.

Dealing with resistance

If employees have reservations and express them, deal with them constructively and openly. Try to understand why this resistance is arising and take concerns seriously. If you believe that they are unfounded, conclude an agreement: „Implementation as planned and the concerns will be addressed/discussed again afterwards“.

In the case of the above-mentioned fictitious bank, regular project information open to all could take place in this way. In this context, the project staff of all three projects show progress and milestones achieved as well as any further challenges. These events are moderated by the „change officer“ designated for all projects. As participants can take part both online and in person, comments, and requests to speak are collected and prepared by the change officer for the next meeting. Useful suggestions for improvement are immediately forwarded to the project teams for review.

In addition to professional project management, change processes also require a cultivated culture of discussion. The measures mentioned above help with this. Initially, this means a little more effort and possibly additional investment. However, the result is better information and involvement of all employees right from the project phase. This will lead to less resistance due to concerns, ignorance, or misjudgment.

ALL employees will (ideally) support such well-communicated change projects and contribute to their success.

Michael Fürst – Senior Consultant


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