Over the years, Prosci clients and research participants have shared valuable insights about their roles and responsibilities in change management, along with the qualifications and skills that helped pave the way for their successful careers. Although job titles and roles in the change management discipline vary widely based on the unique organization and its needs around change, this job description for a Change Manager offers a high-level view of a generalist role.
Position Description for a Change Manager
A change manager plays a key role in ensuring that organizational projects and initiatives meet objectives on time and on budget by increasing employee adoption and usage. This person focuses on the people side of change, which involves preparing, supporting and equipping people to adopt and use changes to business processes, systems and technology, job roles, organization structures, and more.
The primary responsibility of an organizational change manager is to develop and implement change management strategies and plans that maximize employee adoption and usage of required changes. These responsibilities also include plans and efforts to anticipate and minimize resistant behaviors from employees and stakeholders who are impacted by the changes.
The change manager's goal is to drive faster adoption, higher ultimate utilization of changes, and proficiency with the changes that impact employees who must use the changes in their daily work. These improvements increase benefit realization, value creation, ROI, and the achievement of results and outcomes.
While the change manager may or may not have supervisory responsibility, they must work with and through many others in the organization to succeed. Acting as a coach for senior leaders and executives, the change manager helps them fulfill the critical role of change management sponsor. The change manager may support and coach people managers and supervisors as they help their teams through their transitions. Similarly, the change manager supports project managers and project teams to integrate change management activities with their project plans.
Roles and responsibilities of a change manager
The change manager will:
- Apply a structured methodology and lead change management activities
Leverage a change management methodology, process and tools to create a strategy to support adoption of the changes required by a project or initiative.
- Support communication efforts
Enable the design, development, delivery and management of key 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.
- Complete change management assessments
- Identify, analyze and prepare risk mitigation tactics
- Identify and manage anticipated and persistent resistance
- Consult and coach project teams
- Create actionable deliverables for the core change management plans: Sponsor Plan, People Manager Plan, Communications Plan, and Training Plan
- Create actionable deliverables for any required "Extend" plans, such as the Resistance Management Plan
- Support and engage senior leaders
- Coach people managers and supervisors
- Support organizational design and definition of roles and responsibilities
- Coordinate efforts with other specialists
- Integrate change management activities into the 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 of a change manager
- A solid understanding of how people go through a change and the change process
- Experience with 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 of 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:
Other titles for a change manager or professional in a change management career 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
The Change Manager Role
Every organization has specific needs and may even combine change management responsibilities with other roles, such as project management. Whether you're planning for a new role in your organization or investigating change management as a potential career, this change management job description demonstrates the typical skills, roles and responsibilities necessary for success as a generalist in the discipline.