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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Introduction to the People Change Management Toolkit

There are many different types of change and different approaches to managing change. Finding an approach that suits you and your situation goes to the heart of being an effective and professional manager in the education sector (HEFCE, 2003). However, whilst recognising each change situation will be unique, there are still a number of common themes that will help ensure that the change process stands the greatest chance of success. Organisations undergo major change approximately once every three years, whilst smaller changes are occurring almost continually (CIPD, 2007). In this context, organisations have to be able to introduce and manage the change to ensure that the overall objectives of this change are met, while ensuring that they support their team through the change process, both during and after implementation.

The higher education landscape is continually evolving, and like many sectors, will face a number of both challenges and opportunities over the next few years and beyond. The University's brand and values position us well to respond to external changes, by ensuring that our focus is placed on the most important outcomes for our students and staff. Indeed, the focus of any change at the university should ultimately support our overall ambitions as laid out in our University Strategy 2017-2027.

Change usually involves three overlapping aspects: people, processes and culture. Often, the emphasis is upon the processes. However, in order to properly embed a change, a change leader needs to balance all three of these aspects. These can be closely managed through effective communications, stakeholder and project management and personal development. In any period of change, it is essential to learn, reflect and adapt. This toolkit is here to support you through this process so, as to enable positive change.

This toolkit provides guidance about the different stages of change management (from planning change, through to embedding change), which will help staff plan for and manage change. Being able to adapt to change requires an awareness of how change is affecting both you, and those around you, and this toolkit aims to increase your awareness of the effects of change and how to implement as well as support yourself and others through change. Some sections are intended primarily to help those who lead change, although this information can help anyone become more adaptable to change.

It aims to:

  • Maintain high levels of staff wellbeing and organisational performance
  • Alert managers to consider the potential scale and impact of change in relation to the collectively agreed University Change Management Policy and associated procedures and processes.
  • Complement, rather than replace the involvement of Human Resources during change.

Further development activities are available to ensure managers feel equipped to manage staff through change and staff feel they can understand and manage the change they are experiencing.

It is worth noting that this toolkit assumes change will be managed and planned, although change may not always occur as a planned, managed event, and emergent change may require a different approach, which HR can advise you on. The scale and depth of the work involved at each stage will also depend on the scale and nature of change. If you are carrying out a restructure, it is essential to follow the University's policy, and to contact Human Resources.