Empowering Managers With the ADKAR Model
Written by Tim Creasey
Change practitioners have long recognized that people managers are essential to success with change management work. They support effective communications, developing a common language for change, helping people on the front-lines of an organization adopt and use changes, and more. The Prosci ADKAR Model offers a simple yet powerful framework for managing these and other aspects of change at the individual level.
The ADKAR Model and Communication
For more than 20 years, our research study participants have reported that managers who understand and support the rationale behind change management are crucial for project success. Because employees consistently want to hear about change directly from their managers, the ADKAR Model is helpful framework for managing change with their teams who work on front lines of their organizations. In fact, Prosci study participants who chose to empower their managers with the ADKAR Model did so because they had seen its success on a broader change initiative and chose to expand that success.
ADKAR is helpful to people managers because:
- It provides a common language for discussing a change with employees and other managers. Sharing a common language for change leads to more cohesive communication, which helps employees to better understand the change process.
- The model’s simple, easy-to-use structure enables managers to quickly learn and apply it within their working groups.
- Managers can use ADKAR to mitigate resistance to change by identifying and removing barriers for employees who are struggling to adopt a change.
Applications of ADKAR Research
Prosci’s Applications of ADKAR research effort explored seven uses of the ADKAR Model, including empowering managers. The quotes below from study participants shed light on the applications of and results of providing managers with the model:
“It provides them a framework to understand where in the process they are in terms of implementing change to their teams and how they can/should have a cadence to their delivery. Also helps them understand their role as a sponsor of change.”
“Managers tend to move fast through the project mode, and think that people will behave differently as soon as they hear that change is required. With ADKAR, we get them to understand that more will be needed, that you need to invest in awareness, that you need to talk with people, engage them to come up with ideas etc... We hope to reduce the stress and burnout in the organization by paying more attention to how we implement projects / changes.”
“Easy to understand and use, and yields immediate results when engaging employees - facilitation tool for engagement.”
“It is intuitive and we can build coaching conversations around ADKAR. Often change conversations can be difficult. With ADKAR in mind they can ask questions that will get to the heart of the challenges that managers can experience in supporting staff through change. When staff identify a barrier point that the manager needs support to help their staff overcome, they have a language to provide feedback to project teams. Keeps everyone moving in the same direction and enables project teams and operational managers and supervisors to connect.”
People Managers and ADKAR
The full research deep dive includes additional insights into how participants empowered their managers and what resources they provided them. Click the image below to download the deep dive for inspiration and examples, as well as a story of how one organization saw success when providing the model to managers.