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Since 2009, participants in Prosci’s research have been sharing insights about the roles of change management professionals in their organizations. In Prosci’s 2013 benchmarking study, 52% of participants cited having a permanent job role for change management in their organization, up from 43% in 2011.

Organization has a permanent change management position

Over the years, participants have shared the roles and responsibilities of these change management roles, along with key qualifications and skills. Since 2009, Prosci has been evolving the following job description for Change Managers:

Change Management Professional: Position Description

A change manager will play a key role in ensuring projects (change initiatives) meet objectives on time and on budget by increasing employee adoption and usage. This person will focus on the people side of change, including changes to business processes, systems and technology, job roles and organization structures. The primary responsibility will be creating and implementing change management strategies and plans that maximize employee adoption and usage and minimize resistance. The change manager will work to drive faster adoption, higher ultimate utilization of and proficiency with the changes that impact employees. These improvements will increase benefit realization, value creation, ROI and the achievement of results and outcomes.

While the change manager may or may not have supervisory responsibility, this person will have to work through many others in the organization to succeed. The change manager will act as a coach for senior leaders and executives in helping them fulfill the role of change sponsor. The change manager may also provide direct support and coaching to all levels of managers and supervisors as they help their direct reports through transitions. The change manager will also support project teams in integrating change management activities into their project plans.

Roles and responsibilities of a change manager

The change manager will:

Apply a structured methodology and lead change management activities

Apply a change management process and tools to create a strategy to support adoption of the changes required by a project or initiative.

Support communication efforts

Support the design, development, delivery and management of communications.

Assess the change impact

Conduct impact analyses, assess change readiness and identify key stakeholders.

Support training efforts

Provide input, document requirements and support the design and delivery of training programs.

Additional responsibilities may include:

  • Complete change management assessments
  • Identify, analyze and prepare risk mitigation tactics
  • Identify and manage anticipated resistance
  • Consult and coach project teams
  • Create actionable deliverables for the five change management levers: communications plan, sponsor roadmap, coaching plan, training plan, resistance management plan
  • Support and engage senior leaders
  • Coach managers and supervisors
  • Support organizational design and definition of roles and responsibilities
  • Coordinate efforts with other specialists
  • Integrate change management activities into project plan
  • Evaluate and ensure user readiness
  • Manage stakeholders
  • Track and report issues
  • Define and measure success metrics and monitor change progress
  • Support change management at the organizational level
  • Manage the change portfolio

Skills and qualifications

  • A solid understanding of how people go through a change and the change process
  • Experience and knowledge of change management principles, methodologies and tools
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Excellent active listening skills
  • Ability to clearly articulate messages to a variety of audiences
  • Ability to establish and maintain strong relationships
  • Ability to influence others and move toward a common vision or goal
  • Flexible and adaptable; able to work in ambiguous situations
  • Resilient and tenacious with a propensity to persevere
  • Forward looking with a holistic approach
  • Organized with a natural inclination for planning strategy and tactics
  • Problem solving and root cause identification skills
  • Able to work effectively at all levels in an organization
  • Must be a team player and able to work collaboratively with and through others
  • Acute business acumen and understanding of organizational issues and challenges
  • Familiarity with project management approaches, tools and phases of the project lifecycle
  • Experience with large-scale organizational change efforts
  • Change management certification or designation desired

Alternative Titles for a Change Manager

There are many titles for a person in charge of employee adoption and usage. A change manager might also be called a change management:

  • Advisor
  • Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Coordinator
  • Facilitator
  • Lead
  • Manager
  • Practitioner

Other common titles for change professionals include:

  • Business readiness lead
  • Organizational readiness analyst
  • Organization adoption lead
  • Implementation specialist
  • Business transition analyst
  • Business transformation manager
  • Benefit realization manager
  • Change realization lead
  • Strategy realization analyst