Transition management

Changing big, critical functions within a business can be stressful and tricky to manage. Mark Davies offers his advice on how to deal with the inevitable challenges a project involving large number of people throws up.

Crowd of business people facing a board with arrows going off in different directions - indicating transition managementOur clients often face the need to radically change their staff model to adjust for the changing face of their business. Sometimes clients want to up-skill a key function, sometimes reduce or increase staff numbers, and sometimes move location or consolidate a number of locations. Each of these challenges within change management is different, but each is critically important.

Changing big, critical functions is very stressful for the management involved. Stressful because they face a large number of nested challenges around communication, ensuring that good levels of customer service are maintained during the transition period, and ensuring that business risk does not increase more than absolutely necessary.

In the last three years we have had roughly 20 assignments that fall into the transition category, and while each assignment is unique, they all have similar features.

First, our clients always need a range of different solutions to deal with the many different needs of an organisation in transition. Firms typically need to partner with a small selection of providers to get the best service. Firms use internal resource who know the firm, a firm like Grovelands for specialist contract and permanent experienced staff or high quality cover, and often a high street volume agency for volume supply.

Second, they need a transition project management team to plan the process, ensure the project is on track, and deal with the inevitable challenges that a project involving large numbers of people throws up. The Project Manager needs to be an excellent communicator; much of the challenge of transition projects is keeping all the stakeholders fully engaged in the right kind of way.

Third, our clients often ask for contract expert resource, for between a month to six months, to make sure that the most critical processes are safeguarded and continue to happen with no diminution in service.

Fourth, in most transitions there is need for some, sometimes extensive, recruitment of new people to a new location. This needs careful handling to ensure you hire and retain the best. A clear well thought through plan is critical. Ensuring the right assessment processes are in place to handle a large body of people, in a short period of time and an assessment process that makes every applicant feel well cared for.

And finally there is the inevitable need for a smattering of speedily available high-quality resource to deal with any problems that might arise.

Successful transitions can breathe new life into an organisation. But, care is needed! A badly implemented transition management project is a big problem for any organisation.

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