The Value of Change Management Certification
Written by Michelle Haggerty
Is change management certification really necessary? Doesn’t experience alone qualify us? I understand the quandary, and it’s a question I am often asked as more rigor and more certifications and accreditations enter into the change management discipline.
Let’s explore the question—because the bottom line is that there are some definite advantages to earning change management certification.
The Value of Certification
First, interest in change management continues to grow. When asked about top trends in change management, participants in Prosci's Best Practices in Change Management research reported that their organizations increasingly understand the value of change management and see it as necessary for project success. In fact, 74% of participants say they have attended a change management certification program.
Participants cited the following reasons for acquiring change management certification:
- Gain a structured approach
Certification provides a clear, formalized methodology and process for doing change management. It also provides a structured way of thinking and deepens your understanding of the dynamics of change.
"A structured approach around change management has been one of the best decisions we have taken. Approaching all countries in our division in the same way and having the same language has proven to be a strong asset for increasing awareness around change management but also for creating trust and loyalty between our team and the business."
– Annemarie Brorsen, Director – Head of Business Change Management, DSV
- Build skills and credentials
Certification increases professional credibility and is an important step for advancing your career. Certification also builds confidence in your ability to succeed at change management, and it equips you with a variety of important skills that are applicable within and outside of change management settings.
- Acquire common and universal tools
Certification provides tools, templates, techniques and exposure to methodologies, common practices, language and frameworks that you can immediately apply to change projects—all delivered by experts in the field.
- More likely to achieve desired outcomes
Participants felt that by attending certification, they were more able to help their organizations recognize the value of change management and assist them in creating a standardized approach to managing change that increased proficiency and the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes.
"Change management creates a competitive advantage for our customers, and it achieves business outcomes and ROI at a greater rate than we would have otherwise seen. It made sense to move to a globally recognized methodology."
– Alistair G. Lowe-Norris, Global Director of Adoption & Change Management Strategy at Microsoft Digital, Services & Success
What Participants Would Do Differently
This is where it gets interesting. Beyond the benefits of certification, participants in Prosci's research identified four adjustments to how they would provide change management training for future initiatives:
- Increase training for additional groups
Provide more training to key stakeholders and include additional audiences in training efforts, such as project sponsors, project managers, employee supervisors, mid-level managers, senior-level managers and relevant executives.
- Deliver training differently
In more personable settings, use training specialists skilled in delivering hands-on, practical training. Participants would also deliver training continuously throughout the project and provide more interactive components, incorporating technology systems such as web-based and eLearning approaches.
- Tailor content to individual roles
Tailoring content allows training participants to feel more connected to the change and more aligned with the methodology. With customized training, individuals also build a greater awareness of their unique transitions and challenges and are more able to address issues when they arise.
- Plan for training earlier
Allow for more time to assess current knowledge and training requirements. Participants reported that they would also plan training activities earlier in the project lifecycle and would give careful consideration to the most appropriate time for delivery of training—specific to each group. For example, to maximize retention, employees should receive training as close to implementation as possible, minimizing the time between learning new skills and applying them.
"Prosci’s methodology and role-based trainings are uniquely built to work just as well in the academic side of campus as they do on the administration side. But what really set Prosci apart was the Prosci team’s willingness to help us modify their programs to accommodate our distinct needs."
– Bernadette Han, Principal Consultant, Staff Education and Development, University of San Diego
Change Management Training – What To Expect
Clearly, the research supports the need for and benefits of change management training. But what should you expect from the training? It depends. Each training organization has its own standards and philosophy. Prosci's philosophy is to provide an immersive, hands-on approach that enables adults to learn and apply practical tools, best practices and models they can immediately implement in projects. Our philosophy aligns directly with what participants of the Best Practices in Change Management studies report.
The Prosci ADKAR Model
The research also revealed the most popular topics covered during change management training:
- Change management plans
Whether already in place or being created, the focus of these plans was most often on communications, training and resistance management.
- The Prosci ADKAR Model
Groups received training in the ADKAR Model to understand how each element of the model applied to their roles in change.
Of all change management approaches Prosci Methodology was cited most often in the research.
This included tools for evaluating change prior to implementation, such as readiness assessments, impact assessments, and other stakeholder analysis tools.
- Change management principles
Training included an overview of what change management is, why it is applied, the benefits of using a change management methodology, and principles concerning the psychology of change.
Although many training vehicles exist—from informal information sharing to web-based training—there really is no substitute for learning directly from a subject matter expert who is adept in adult learning methods, especially hands-on, practical applications. This is true for in-person training and virtual programs.
Key Takeaways From Training
Formal classroom trainings are beneficial for individuals at all levels, and by allocating enough time to assess knowledge gaps and training requirements, you can better provide the appropriate training for all roles within your organization. Customized, role-specific trainings are recommended for project teams, executives, people managers, and front-line employees. But remember, attempts to build knowledge are only effective when the individuals want to engage in the change process and are seeking knowledge to be successful. Begin by building awareness and creating desire. After this, individuals will naturally seek the knowledge they need and engage in the training provided.
To gain knowledge of change management theories, tools and application, we recommend change management certification. Whether you attend a program in person or virtually, earning Prosci Change Management Certification prepares and equips you to advance your career, help your organization achieve success with must-win initiatives, and help people thrive through change. As a bonus, you will join the thousands of qualified change management professionals around the world who proudly display the Prosci Certified Change Practitioner badge.