Prepare for change in your large business

How to engage and support your employees through small and big changes.



How this helps your business

Change is part of all organisations and essential for future growth. However, poor management of the change process can leave employees feeling uncertain.

Supporting staff through change including; strategies for maintaining motivation and engagement, responding to common emotional responses, and celebrating achievements are necessary actions for successful change management.

Leaders, change management experts, and human resources should work together to identify what the change requires, and who is responsible. The working group should also ensure employees are informed and involved throughout the process, action plans are implemented, and employee uncertainty is minimised.

Employers have an obligation to consult staff when they are considering changes that could affect the health and safety of employees. Involve employees in planning from the start. Have open conversations about future plans to help your workplace cope with change, maintain clarity and accuracy of information, and create a more positive working environment.

Key stats and facts

Change can be a significant risk factor to a worker's mental health and wellbeing if not managed well.

Black Dog Institute, 2017, How to create a mentally healthy workplace: Explained

Strong involvement from your internal communications team is key to supporting change in a workplace. Involvement from your human resources team, subject matter experts, and business analysts will also be valuable.

Prosci, 2016, Best practices in change management

Step 1

Learn more on this topic

Lack of clear information and limited communication about change processes within your workplace can lead to confusion and stress for your employees.

The 5 minute video below from EML shows some examples of lack of clarity in organisational change. As you watch it, think about what happens in your workplace when change occurs.

Now choose a change that you need to plan for in the next few months. Examples of workplace change can include:

  • Physical move such as moving into a new building or renovating office space
  • New management or team leaders
  • Downsizing
  • Outsourcing
  • Change in culture
  • Change of routine
  • Staff movement such as resignations or promotions
  • Policy and procedure updates
  • Changes to decision-making processes
  • New technology e.g. machinery or updated software e.g. telephone system
  • Litigation / legal proceedings
  • Mergers, acquisitions and restructures
  • Changes in roles
  • Government changes
  • Evolution / revolution
  • Cultural changes

Change Management - Episode 5 of (Mis)behave with Dave

Step 2

Assess your workplace

Use the EML checklist to rate the current performance of your workplace. Gathering input from others to paint a more holistic picture of change management experiences within your organisation can provide useful insights. Some departments may cope better than others when faced with change.

Then choose 3 areas to focus on improving.

Step 3

Understand change management principles

Organisational change management principles can assist your workplace throughout the change process.

Change should be:

  • based on structured consultation that includes anyone who might be impacted by the change
  • transparent and ensure employees are treated fairly and reasonably without discrimination
  • communicated clearly to the appropriate people in a timely manner
  • in accordance with any relevant policies or procedures, including any Enterprise Agreements.

Want to learn more about change management theory? Check out the Other resources tab at the bottom of this page for more great information.

Step 4

Make a plan

Use the below Change Management Plan to help your workplace plan for the change you identified in Step 1.

Adapt the plan to suit your workplace and the change you are planning for.

Planning and consulting with the right people from beginning to end will set your workplace up for success. In doing so, you create opportunities to reduce stress, conflict and staff turnover. Identify and work closely with employees at all levels, and from all areas of your organisation that could be impacted by change.

It is important that each element, objective and action of the change has someone responsible for it. This ensures the process continues to move forward and changes can be made. The Action Plan at part 1.14 will help you with this process.

As you work through the plan, think about the 3 areas you identified for improvement in Step 2 and ensure you include strategies in your plan to address each of these.

As you implement and then review the change, keep referring back to the plan to keep your workplace on track.

Step 5

Review and keep improving

Your workplace will continue to experience change on an ongoing basis. Now that you have experience in using the change management plan, identify 3 key actions you will take to make this a 'business as usual' process when your workplace starts planning for change.

Work towards continuously improving the way your workplace manages change for ongoing success.

What actions will you take to facilitate continuous improvement?

Reflect on the review of the change that you did as part of Step 4. Did you experience any barriers to using the change management plan? And how can you overcome them?

  • Were there any barriers to using this plan to manage change?
  • What tweaks could you make to existing systems, processes, information, skills, or culture to make it easier?
  • How can you facilitate buy-in from different parts and levels of your organisation?
  • What were the benefits for your workplace in using this plan?
  • Could you share your experience through a case study or by sharing other resources you created throughout the process?

More information

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Disclaimer: The WorkWell Toolkit provides general information only. Please consider your specific circumstances, needs and seek appropriate professional advice.