Is certification really necessary? Doesn’t experience alone qualify us? I understand the quandary, and it’s a question I am asked more often as more rigor and more certifications/accreditations enter into the change management discipline.
Let’s explore the question - because the bottom line is that there are some definite advantages to receiving change management certification.
First, we can turn to the data. Participants in the Best Practices in Change Management – 2016 Edition were asked if they had attended a change management certification program, and more importantly, whether they would recommend that others become certified in change management.
Overwhelmingly, 86% of participants recommended change management certification, and here’s why:
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.
Certification increases professional credibility and is an important step for advancing your career. Certification also builds confidence in your own 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.
Certification provides tools, templates, techniques and exposure to methodologies, common practices, language and frameworks that can be immediately applied to change projects - all delivered by experts in the field.
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.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Beyond the benefits of certification, participants identified four adjustments to how they would provide change management training for future initiatives. Your change peers suggest and recommend the following:
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.
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 e-learning approaches.
Tailoring content allows recipients of the training 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.
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 these skills.
If the data supports the need for and benefits of change management training, what should you expect from the training? Classic answer: it depends. Each training company, organization and professional association has their own standards and philosophy. At Prosci, ours is simple: we provide a full immersion, hands-on approach that enables adults to learn and apply practical tools, best practices and models that they can implement immediately.
Our philosophy is directly aligned to with what participants of the Best Practices in Change Management reported. Below we share with you the top five topics covered during training (information provided by participants of the 2016 edition of Best Practices in Change Management).
Whether already in place or being created, the focus of these plans was most often on communications, training and resistance management.
Each group received training in the Prosci ADKAR Model to understand how each element of the model applied to their roles in change.
Of all methodologies, the Prosci Change Management Process was the most cited.
This included tools for evaluating change prior to implementation, such as readiness assessments, impact assessments and other stakeholder analysis tools.
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.
While many training vehicles can be used - from informal information sharing to web-based training - there really is no substitute to learning directly from a subject matter expert, adept in adult learning methods - namely hands-on, practical applications.
Formal classroom trainings are beneficial for 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, managers, supervisors, and 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 help them be successful. Begin by building awareness and creating desire. After this, individuals will naturally seek the knowledge they require and engage in the training provided.
To gain knowledge of change management theories, tools and application, we fully recommend change management certification. We welcome you to join us in one of our upcoming Change Management Certification Programs. There we will provide you with a clear, formalized and proven methodology for effective change management.
As a bonus, upon completion you can promote yourself as a qualified change management practitioner with this snazzy badge!
Michelle Haggerty has been with Prosci for over seven years and specializes in helping organizations around the world realize their intended results, from small incremental changes to large, transformative changes through the application of change management. Michelle’s main focus in helping client organizations realize success is through knowledge transfer. Michelle leads the strategic direction of Prosci’s training offerings and oversight of delivery quality.