Change management has been something of a hot topic over the past few years. Change is constantly surrounding us in today’s society. Our organizations must learn how to successfully navigate these changes if we want to thrive in this unpredictable pace of today’s business world.

The question that everyone has on their minds is: How do we do implement a change successfully? There are four key steps to ensure that a change is successful in your organization, even in the context of eLearning. Those steps are Planning, Implementation, Follow Up and Revise. You must keep each of these four steps in mind when implementing any size change.

The first step to change implementation is the most critical. The Planning phase of a change will be the area where you will spend the majority of your time. Adequate time spent in this phase will pay dividends to you when it comes to the success of your change. The areas included in the planning phase are creating an engaging vision, planning your communication methods, your feedback processes, training needs, and celebrating successes and employees who will be involved in these changes.

The second step to change management is the Implementation. Many times, when an organization is implementing a change, they spend little time on the planning phase and simply head to implementation. In-depth planning must come first in order to be successful.

At this point of the change, you must now communicate the vision you created, communicating specifically the roles people play in the change and what is expected of them during the change. Be prepared, as you may have to communicate this information repeatedly in order for some to grasp the information that is being presented. Change is not natural for many people; therefore they will have a hard time grasping what is expected of them during the change.

During the implementation phase, you need to ensure that the people you have included in the change are capable of the tasks with which they are presented. Additional training may be needed in some areas. It is very important during this phase that leaders of the change must handle feedback in the way in which it was agreed upon and communicated, they must recognize and celebrate the successes (even the small ones!), and they must communicate progress along the way. Communicating the progress and the celebrations will keep your employees motivated to continue, especially during the more difficult parts of the change.

After the implementation of the change, take a step back and review the steps that took place. This is called the Follow Up phase. During this phase, you will need to review the good, the bad, and the ugly that took place during the Implementation phase. What could you improve upon? What should be changed? What should continue? Other questions you may ask are: Did we communicate progress regularly enough? Did our celebrations work well, or should we have other ideas? Did our employees really understand what was expected of them? This is the time to really be open and honest about what happened in order to make the necessary changes going forward.

The last phase, and an important one, is called the Revise phase. During this phase, you will take the findings from your Follow Up phase and make any adjustments to your change plan. As we know, change is a continual process therefore it is important that you make the revisions to your plan overall in order to make this continued change or any other future changes to be more effective within your organization. It is imperative as you are making these adjustments that you also effectively communicate these adjustments with your employees. If you and your employees are not aligned on these changes, you will not be following the same path regarding the change, therefore leading you to an unsuccessful change.

As leaders, any time that a change is implemented, there is always a chance of resistance to the change. If you follow this four-step change management process, it will reduce the amount of resistance you will experience from your employees. This change management process allows you to keep the employee in mind while also anticipating any potential obstacles throughout every step of the process, therefore immensely reducing any questions or resistance.

Change is inevitable, especially when it comes to being successful in business. Planning is an essential. Keeping your employees at the forefront of your mind during the change process is key to a successful change. In utilizing this proven four step change management process, you can implement change so that it is a seamless transition for you and your employees.