5 Powerful Steps for Effective Change Management

By Guild Trainer/Assessor Katy Duldig

Think of the last time something changed in your pharmacy and how it was handled, maybe by yourself, or by another member of management. A new piece of technology, a new program or procedure.

Did it go well? Was it a nightmare? Was everyone kept informed or was it sprung on them with no warning?

Change Management is a term for the management of people who are experiencing change, simple enough right? It’s an approach, using different tools and techniques, to prepare, support and help individuals, teams and organisation to implement hassle-free change.

There are 5 main steps to follow, to ensure everyone on your pharmacy team has a chance for input, that the nature of the change is communicated to all, any training is completed before the change is made, small steps are taken and after the change has been completed, reinforcement and check-ups are made.

Step 1: Awareness – Identify what is working and what is not. This awareness and identification can come from higher manager or from staff. Ask for input into the change, is there anything else staff can identify that isn’t working or could be updated at the same time.

Step 2: Desire – Communicate the benefits of making the change. Let staff know how the change is going to be made, make sure they understand the time frame, what it means to them personally and share their feedback.

Step 3: Knowledge – Provide the knowledge and skills to the team to smoothly transition into the change. Train staff before making the change, set aside time for training, it doesn’t need to take a long time, but things will run much more smoothly if staff know what to do and how to troubleshoot. Customer service will suffer if staff are distracted by new procedures that haven’t been explained to them.

Step 4: Action – Change one thing at a time, don’t implement change by stealth! Once the team is trained and ready, implement the change, the team will be ready, they’ve had their input, they know the time frame and they know what is expected of them.

Step 5: Reinforcement – Engage the team and select champions of change for sustainability. Once the change is made, it’s still not over. Follow up is needed to make sure the change is running smoothly, that staff are comfortable with the new requirements and completing tasks correctly. A champion of change can be selected, to gather suggestions from other staff members and bring those to management to implement, thus improving the running and productivity of the store.

Change doesn’t need to be a scary thing, by implementing a simple change management plan, the team will be much more comfortable with change, feel included and these positive changes will be reflected in customer service and team engagement.