21 Oct 5 Ways to Facilitate Change Management in Healthcare
Dealing with change management in healthcare has always been a given, but the speed and frequency of these changes is accelerating. Continued disruption will accelerate as a whole in the industry and the leaders of today and tomorrow must be prepared for this new normal. Many studies suggest that around 70 percent of change management initiatives fail.
Navigating change can be demanding enough, but these obstacles are often amplified within the complexities of healthcare. Clinical and administrative staff may often be suspicious or wary of an administrator’s strategy and motivation. They may feel at odds about competing priorities, whether right or wrong. This only serves to make change management more challenging, as changes usually come from administrative leadership, either directly or indirectly.
Below are five ways that change management can be facilitated in healthcare.
Involve Employees and Stakeholders Early and Often
Getting employees engaged in changes is often the number one challenge in facilitating any change, regardless of the size and scope of change. Effectively involve employees by listening to their opinions, being mindful of their concerns, and acknowledging their stake in any changes. By engaging employees, this will foster a smoother change process. Additionally, leaders will often gain valuable insight into how changes may affect stakeholders at every level if they elicit feedback and insight on the viability of changes. An insightful leader can and will adjust their approach or even alter their entire strategy as a result of feedback from those on the front lines.
Instill A Strong Communication Strategy
It is crucial that leadership has in place a strong communication plan and strategy for effective rollouts of change. This should be a multi-pronged approach involving various communication mediums and timelines. This strategy works best if it is ongoing both during and after the changes take effect. Be sure to incorporate the reasons for change, how it benefits the organization, and how it affects the recipients of those changes.
Take People’s Feelings Into Account
Change can be hard. By being empathetic to staff concerns, you can help diffuse any resentment or ill feelings that could arise from the difficulties of adapting to changes. Understand how changes will impact employees. Check in regularly over the course of the implementation to monitor feelings and morale as a result of the change’s impacts. By being in tune with staff sentiments, acceptance of change is more likely.
Focus on the Past
Any organization has been tasked with navigating changes, with varying degrees of success in implementation. Be retrospective and take organizational ownership of prior shortcomings while learning from them and applying this knowledge to future initiatives. By understanding how past changes may have succeeded or failed, it should offer insight into the complexities of the organization. You may find that changed reached unexpected places that could mold strategy going forward. Acknowledge any shortcomings to stakeholders while conveying the plan to do better in the future.
Ensure That Key Stakeholders Are On Your Side
One of the most important lessons in driving change is the need to get key stakeholders on board as change advocates. Implementers should engage all stakeholders, but leadership will excel when they identify team members with outsized influence in getting peers on the side of the organization. This usually includes some managers or clinicians, but often can be individuals at any level of the organization. Leadership can increase the chance of success in change management when they tap into the influence of key stakeholders.
There is no magic bullet when it comes to instilling effective change management in an organization. Armed with the right approach, inevitable changes will only get easier as leaders develop their change management strategies. With some effective planning, a greater understanding of the organization and stakeholders, plus targeted outreach and communication efforts, change management efforts will have a greater chance of success.
Authored by Brett Shay, Managing Partner at Informed Concepts Consulting. Published on October 21, 2019.