Making changes in your company can be stressful and risky, and managing those changes without a management-of-change process can be even more so. Without a solid process in place, it can also be time-consuming and expensive. Whether the change is new technology implementation, process updates, compliance initiatives, or reorganization, a good management-of-change process can save you time and money.
Here are some simple steps to save you time and stress while mitigating risks and associated with making changes.
Identify the change that needs to be made and what can be improved. Most changes are meant to improve your company’s processes, safety, or product. It’s extremely important to be focused and clear on the goal of the change by identifying the required resources and individuals to facilitate the process. Knowing what you need to improve is the foundation for the successful and easy implementation of the change.
It’s also important to identify who is qualified to approve the plan and include this in your management-of-change process. In later steps, they will need to document their approval for your records.
There are most likely individuals in your company who will need to direct and finance the change. They will want to know the expected outcome, and they must have a good understanding of the change and the reason for it in order for you to get buy-in.
When planning, be sure to include what the change will be, why it needs to take place, and how long it should take. Create a detailed plan that identifies how the changes need to be carried out in order to be successful. This management of the change plan should include what resources need to be used, the scope of work, and the cost of the plan. A multistep process should be written to avoid sudden unplanned and unexpected changes that can create organizational issues and confusion. The management of the change process needs clear steps with measurable targets for analysis.
Document whether a meeting is required before the change and, if not, why it isn’t. Include any necessary files with your documentation. Documents like regulations, images that show the issue, or other clarifying documents should all be kept with your management-of-change plan.
If the change is an emergency change or a temporary change, explain why and include an end date in the management-of-change plan.
Provide the plan to the previously identified individuals from step one. If they give you preapproval to get started, move forward. If they don’t approve the change, update the plan to meet their requirements. Once the plan has all necessary preapprovals, you can move forward to the next step. Now is also a good time to assign the necessary process safety review (PSR) to the management of change if it’s required. If it isn’t required for this change, document why.
As changes are being made, it’s important that they be reviewed by qualified individuals. These individuals must be able to say they were made correctly and safely. Sign-offs at this step need to be stored with the management of change. If one of the reviewers denies their approval, document the reason and make any necessary changes to meet their requirements. Be sure to track any corrective or preventive actions or tasks that are assigned during this process and all paperwork and sign-offs associated with them.
Once the change has been completed, your management-of-change process needs to include a final approval that allows the qualified individual(s) to sign and date for the completion of the change or deny it if needed. These sign-offs need to be kept with the management-of-change process documents.
EHS Hero’s Management of Change Tool can help you stay on top of your management-of-change process by managing the change and necessary steps to accomplish your organization’s goals.