Change Management in 2018: What’s ahead?

Oliver Bradley our consultant managing the role

Change Management is a dynamic sector. Its prominence in the world of business has risen in recent years (read our top 5 predicted trends here) - and for good reason. Many companies are now realising that when it comes to implementing change within the workplace, having an expert on hand in the form of a change manager is vital if the workforce, and indeed business, is to transition smoothly to a new way of working. Whether updating business structures or altering an organisation’s culture, change management is a vital part of winning the hearts and minds of staff and diffusing tensions from top-down orders.

As we enter 2018, a shifting economy, improvements in technology and a higher demand for experienced staff promises to bring an exciting year for those in change management.

It’s growing

Indeed, the next 12 months promise to build on the growing awareness of the importance of change management within the business sector. As a relatively new business practice, many organisations have been slow to adopt new approaches to handling change. However, an increased emphasis on staying competitive in today’s increasingly busy market, and on keeping staff engaged and productive - has resulted in a slew of demand for experts who can ensure that any necessary changes in business, whether a merger or a new business strategy, can be done with minimal fuss, and minimal employee disruption.

Despite market uncertainty over the past few years, business has also picked up both in commercial and financial sectors, with many companies and banks citing cautious optimism for 2018 as the market picks back up after events like Brexit. Along with this, organisations are looking to implement long-term sustainable growth plans for which change management is uniquely suited. As a result, expect the demand for roles in change management to soar across sectors like IT, finance and consulting: roles that we at Marks Sattin are uniquely suited to place and recruit for.

It’s becoming more central to businesses

Today, more companies are starting to adopt formal change management methodologies that provide better structure and consistency in the way projects are managed.

Indeed, the idea of Change Management Competency will likely become much more popular, allow managers to build flexible organisations that are better able to adapt to the changing market, and more likely to sustain long-term growth; furthermore, change management will likely be built into any long-term organisational plans, resulting in a greater recognition of its importance at management level. Given that only 47% of the UK’s small businesses have a formal business plan for future growth in place, expect demand for change management to soar over the coming months.

It’s becoming more complex

Change management will likely also develop in complexity over the coming years. Recently, 77% of staff interviewed in a survey by Prosci reported that their change management teams were integrated with their project management teams. This is indicative of a wider trend sweeping the market, whereby change management is becoming more widely used across multiple sectors, and for delivering projects and products - perhaps even playing a key role in solution design - as well as managing in-house changes. Expect the sector to branch out over 2018, with more teams applying change management methodologies to their own projects and staff, broadening its use across departments and areas of business.

But the demands of the role are already changing, thanks to technology. The rapid rate of technological and digital advances are cited as a major challenge by 68% of people in business, along with keeping up with new phenomena like digital automation, block chain and digital security: this is also affecting change management. Expect more computer-based training in the future, as managers scramble to adopt and implement new tools, such as online communication, and customised online tools designed to make it ever-easier to do their job, like benchmarking and metrics tools.

It’s gaining recognition

The future is bright for change management. Along with a projected increase in demand for experienced candidates - since 2011, there’s been a 10% increase in jobs for people in the sector - we’re anticipating training to come to the forefront, with more of a focus on developing a training programme that will teach the next generation of change managers. With that will also likely come a set of standardised industry qualifications that employees can use to prove their credentials within a rapidly-developing industry.

One thing is for certain: with an increased recognition of the importance that change management plays within business, we can be sure that the industry is going to grow and develop even further in 2018, taking the sector in new and exciting directions over the next twelve months.

At Marks Sattin, we pride ourselves on keeping our finger on the pulse of the changing market, so we can connect talented candidates with the best roles in Change Management around the country. Find out more about what we do here, or have a look at our vacancies here.

23/01/18
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