Managers play critical roles in times of change. In fact, two decades of Prosci research and our collective experience have demonstrated how important managers are for organizational change success. After all, whom do employees affected by change go to when they are struggling?

The value of engaging managers

Engaging managers isn’t a nice to have…it’s a must have to effectively deploy change initiatives. Research shows that front-line managers are key to the success or failure of change. Managers are also best positioned to see and address any resistance and can have the largest impact on the employee experience of the change.

Participants in the Best Practices in Change Management study identified the importance of turning managers into change champions who act as early adopters and vocal advocates of the change to direct reports and other impacted groups. Participants also noted that early engagement of middle managers aids in identifying unique challenges within their respective departments.

Unfortunately, only 34% of participants indicated that they adequately prepare managers and supervisors for their role in change. With so many managers and supervisors feeling ill-prepared to handle their role in change, it is no surprise that they were also reported as the group most resistant to change.

The bottom line is simple: Engaging managers in the change process can lead to better change outcomes. Yet at Prosci, we often hear clients report that managers just don’t have enough time to perform their roles in change.

Managers face busy daily schedules and a multitude of priorities, which all compete for their time. Between daily operational tasks, driving projects forward, leading their teams, striving for their own professional goals, and reporting back to executives, they have their hands full. Stepping away from the most pressing issues to attend training often isn’t viable.

What about a more flexible option? Rather than attending an in-person training event, managers can utilize our new Prosci eLearning modules to start building their competency as leaders of change.

How to engage managers with eLearning

Virtual learning is a great option in the busy, complex, volatile world of today’s organizations. Prosci offers introductory eLearning modules that can be used to engage managers, so you can accelerate and kickstart their change management competency. eLearning primes managers for what they will be asked to do during times of change. Here’s how you might use eLearning to engage managers:

1. Teach managers about their own change process

First, consider providing managers the Prosci ADKAR Model as a framework for individual change by having them go through the Introduction to ADKAR module. The ADKAR Model is a valuable tool in helping organizations achieve change results by empowering managers with the model to aid in their own individual transitions, and then the transitions of their direct reports.

In this eLearning module, users apply the ADKAR Model on a change they are currently experiencing. The Introduction to ADKAR module helps managers pinpoint where they are in their own change process. This is especially important because managers need to be able to navigate their own change process to effectively lead others. 

2. Give managers tools to lead themselves and others through change

Once managers fully understand the ADKAR Model as the individual change process, you can build on that understanding with more specific frameworks and tools for leading change. The Introduction to Leading Change eLearning module focuses on how to effectively lead teams through change.

We outline the ADKAR Model and then discuss the research-derived roles that managers fulfill in times of change to drive ADKAR Model outcomes with their team. The five roles include: Communicator, Liaison, Advocate, Resistance Manager, and Coach. During this module, managers will evaluate how to fulfill these five roles for a real change and plan specific steps they can take after completing the module.

Driving change outcomes

Engaging managers is crucial to drive change outcomes. You can use eLearning to prime managers with the concepts of change management so when they’re asked to engage and lead change, they already have an idea of what that means. You can also use these eLearning modules to reinforce in-person training with managers, so their vital role stays top of mind. You might even think about integrating eLearning into other leadership development paths to ensure leading change becomes part of how managers are expected to lead.

Try out the eLearning modules for yourself and consider how you could engage your managers more effectively.


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Written by
Kent Ganvik
Kent Ganvik

Kent Ganvik is a Development Partner for Prosci and works on bringing Prosci’s new products, services, and offerings to life in the change space. With a continuous eye toward driving client success, Kent uses his extensive background in training, project management, and data analysis to capture customer insights and drive organizational results.