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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Managing Change

A reminder of who is responsible for change

Everyone is part of change and will benefit from managing it better. The information below is most useful for: 

  • Project sponsors
  • Senior leaders and managers
  • Change managers allocated to projects
  • Project managers/teams
  • Managers and supervisors
  • Human Resource Managers
  • Employees
  • Anyone charged with implementing change

Who is involved in managing change?

Change management requires each of the following groups to fulfill their specific role. A change manager can identify the need for change, facilitate change assessments, create a change management strategy and develop change management plans, but they are not the only ones involved in managing change. Groups involved in managing change include:  

Who is involved in managing change
Group/Person Why is this group/person important?       What is this person/group's role?

Heads of Agencies

Deputy Secretaries

Senior leaders       

Active and visible sponsorship is identified as the top contributor to overall project success in a number of benchmarking studies.

Senior leaders are one of two preferred senders of messages about change.

Participate actively and visibly throughout the change/project.

Build the needed sense of common purpose with peers and other managers.

Communicate the business messages about the change effectively with employees, including not only what is changing but why it is changing. 

Change Manager
and Team      

A change manager can identify the need for change, facilitate change assessments, create a change management strategy and develop change management plans, but they are not the only ones involved in managing change.

The Change Manager and his/her team are the key people who enable the key players (executives, managers, supervisors, employees) to play their roles in managing change.  

Assess the organisation's change readiness.

Develop a change management strategy.

Identify and prepare the change management resources. 

Assess and prepare executive sponsors. 

Create and manage the change management plans. 

Audit compliance and design methods to reinforce the change in the organisation including activities to celebrate success. 

Transition the change management activities to day-to-day business manager. 

Project Team

The project team designs and develops the 'change' - they are the ones who introduce new processes, systems, tools, job roles and responsibilities.

This group provides much of the specific information about the change to the other groups below and again sometimes the project team and change team are one and the same, but each role requires them to take a different focus.

Provide timely, accurate and succinct information about the change (or project).

Integrate change management activities into project management plans and activities.

Managers & Supervisors

Managers and supervisors are the other preferred sender of messages about change.

This group has a unique and well-developed relationship with the employees being impacted by the change.

Communicate the personal messages about the change with their direct reports.

Conduct group and individual coaching sessions.

Identify, analyze and manage any resistance, concerns or issues.

Provide feedback to the rest of the groups involved in change management.
Human Resource Managers

Your Human Resources Manager should be your first point of contact to discuss any changes that may impact on employees. 

A Human Resource Manager can provide advice, support and assistance on key aspects of change including project management; change management and people management.  

Provide timley, acurate and succinct information about the change or project.

Provide up-to-date employee assistance information and strategies for managers to help build resilience. 

Provide strategic advice, assistance and support regarding the change management strategy and approach undertaken.


Employees will make changes to how they do their day-to-day work.

Their acceptance and use of the solution determines the success of the change/project and the ongoing benefit derived from the change.

Their speed of adoption, ultimate utilization rate and proficiency define the value of the change. 

Seek out information related to the business reasons for change and the personal impact of the change.

Provide feedback and reaction to the change and the change management efforts in a constructive manner.

Take control of their personal transition (using an individual change management model eg ADKAR - see Change Management resources).  

Readiness and capability

Managing change is a function of two factors: readiness and capability. Readiness is about whether there is adequate motivation and incentive for and benefit in the changes and capability is about whether there are enough supports, enablers, and skills to enact them. (No. 1 - 4 is about readiness; No. 5 - 9 is about capability).

  1. Analyze the organisation and its need for change.
  2. Create a shared vision and common direction. 
  3. Separate from the past. 
  4. Create a sense of urgency. 
  5. Develop a strong leader role. 
  6. Line up political sponsorship.
  7. Craft an implementation plan. 
  8. Develop enabling structures and reinforcements. 
  9. Communicate, involve employees and be honest. 
  10. Monitor, refine, and institutionalize change.

Reference: Cohen Allan R, 1995, The Portable MBA in Management, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Management of change

The Change Management Institute identifies 13 knowledge areas that change managers need to understand (Change Management Institute, 2013, p. 16); these are listed below:

  1. A Change Management Perspective - The overarching theories behind change
  2. Defining Change - What is the change
  3. Managing Benefits - Ensuring change delivers value
  4. Stakeholder Strategy - How to identify and engage stakeholders / employees
  5. Communication and Engagement - Communicating change effectively
  6. Change Impact - Assessing change impact and progress
  7. Change Readiness, Planning and Measurement - Preparing for change
  8. Project Management - Change initiatives. projects and programs
  9. Education and Learning Support - Training and supporting change
  10. Facilitation - Facilitating group events through a change process
  11. Sustaining Systems - Ensuring that change is sustained
  12. Personal and Professional Management - Developing personal effectiveness
  13. Organizational Considerations - Critical elements of awareness for professional

Reference: Change Management Institute, 2013, p.16, The effective change manager - The Change Management Body of Knowledge, First Edition (PDF, 211KB)

A quick guide for managers

A number of models and checklists are provided throughout this toolkit and have been selected from an extensive literature on the subject of change management to illustrate some of the basic approaches and elements that need to be dealt with in the development of any change management strategy - regardless of whether it is large-scale or small. The only differences are in the scale of the activities and the timeframe over which the activities are undertaken.  

Example No. 1 - A Checklist for Change Managers
No. Description of change process
1. Do you have a clear idea about why this change is necessary?
2. What approvals will you need to implement the change?
3. How will this change fit with the other changes that are affecting this work group?
4. How will you consult with the employees affected and the unions representing them?
5. How will you involve the people affected by the change (employees, clients, stakeholders) in planning a response to the need for change?
6. What resources will be required?
7. How will you manage the employees and industrial issues involved?
8. How long do you expect the implementation phase to take?
9. How will you know that the change has been successfully implemented?

An alternative Checklist for Change Managers  

Example No. 2 - A Checklist for Change Managers
Area Description of change process
Preparing for Change
  • Identify the Sponsor of the Change.
  • Why is the change occurring and are there any identified benefits?
  • Identify who and what the change will impact on (consider all people/employees, systems, processes from major to minor that may be affected by the change)
  • Is the change significant enough that consultation should occur?
  • Have all key managers been consulted regarding the change and relevant impacts considered?
  • Consider when and how affected employees should be introduced to the impending change
  • Is there a need to communicate with relevant unions?
  • Have you identified perceived barriers to the change?
  • Do you have a communication strategy prepared for any media interest?
Managing the Change
  • Do all key managers and supervisors involved in the change have a consistent and clear message on the change and any identified benefits? Emphasize the why?
  • What level of training and support is required?
  • Do you need to keep relevant people (employees, clients, stakeholders) informed?
  • Continue to communicate through a range of mechanisms eg email, face-to-face, organisational communication officers (re-emphasize the benefits).
  • Ensure there are appropriate feedback mechanisms in place.
Evaluating the Change
  • How well has the change been effected? Measure the outputs, outcomes if appropriate.
  • Is any follow up gap training required?
  • Are there any outcomes to be communicated?
  • Is there a requirement for a formal review period?
  • Any recommendation's - lessons learnt from the evaluation?
  • All appropriate documentation has been submitted if required.

The best way to lead and manage organisational change

There is no one ‘best’ way for leading and managing change. There are no universal formulas for achieving success in the face of so many contextual variables. However, there are five factors that appear to be essential in order to achieve successful organisational change. These are:

  1. Active, visible and accessible leaders.
  2. A credible case for change and frequent two-way communication about this case for change.
  3. A structured change management approach. Ideally, this should be developed in collaboration with, or at least be informed by contributions from, people/employees who will be involved in, and impacted by, the change activities and outcomes. The structured change management approach should also allow for regular revision in response to new opportunities and challenges.
  4. Dedicated resources and funding for change management activities. Skills development and support for middle managers in both managing change and in the new ways for working required to achieve the benefits sought is especially important.
  5. Employee engagement and participation.

Source: Victorian Public Sector Commission (2015), Organisational Change


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SSMO acknowledges reference to A Guide for Managers – taking care of your staff and yourself during job losses, Cbus, MBA, Superfriend and beyondblue in preparing this section; Available from: