Change Management Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Organisations may undergo changes to innovate, grow their business or stay competitive through times of disruption. Employees who are involved in implementing changes often develop effective change management skills. If you enact positive change that creates value and benefits the organisation, it can raise your professional standing and help advance your career in the industry. In this article, we define change management skills, discuss several examples and how you can develop these skills in the workplace. We also suggest how to showcase your change management skills and experience during your job applications.

What are change management skills?

Change management skills are skills that leaders and change managers use to help the company through organisational change. Professionals use these skills to strategise and communicate plans that can help employees and the organisation prepare for the impending change.

An organisation may undergo different types of changes:

  • Transformational: This is an enterprise-level change that affects every aspect of the organisation. It can involve an overhaul of existing processes, procedures, roles and the organisational hierarchy.

  • Developmental: These are small-scale changes that improve existing operations or business processes in the organisation. Developmental changes occur frequently to increase the organisation's capabilities over time.

  • Transitional: Businesses that undergo transitional change can evolve their existing business model to incorporate new processes and modes of operations. This change can be systemic and occur in response to competition or disruption.

Related: What Are the 10 Main Change Management Principles?

Examples of change management skills

Here are some skills required of a good change leader:

Leadership

Strong leadership is critical for effective change management to occur. Good leadership can foster close relationships with employees and assure them of any concerns or apprehensions. Strong leaders are also honest with employees to encourage them to be more receptive and committed to the change management process. The ability to articulate a clear vision and goals can help employees at all levels of the company to understand and execute the change management strategy accordingly.

Related: How a Leader Can Be a Change Agent (With Characteristics)

Communication

For change management to benefit the company, it's important to properly communicate the changes and expectations throughout all levels of the organisation. A well-crafted and consistent messaging can help communicate with employees why the company is making changes and what they need to know to fulfil their roles. Having strong communication skills helps you explain clearly how this transition may affect employees and guide them to understand the value of change. It also helps you gather employees' feedback to identify potential problems and address any concerns.

Related: What Is Leadership Communication? (Definition and Examples)

Management

Competent managerial skills help you plan and allocate resources efficiently to ensure the organisation's change stays on schedule and within budget. You can then effectively manage and engage the employees to participate and contribute to the change management process. Strong management skills are also essential to monitor, interpret and evaluate performance during the process.

Related: How to Highlight Organisation Skills on a Resume (With Tips)

Strategic thinking

High-level strategic thinking is often required to help a company successfully navigate organisational change, such as devising strategies to improve areas of business inefficiency while minimising disruptions to work and production during the change. You can then critically analyse how your organisation may be affected and pre-emptively conceive solutions to any potential problems that may occur during the process.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning? With Benefits and Tips

Decision making

Decision-making is an important skill you may activate to evaluate options and analyse potential outcomes and scenarios before finalising a model that can best improve the organisation's current business operations. Having strong decision-making skills also helps you gather necessary information from stakeholders to address their concerns and gain their support.

How to improve change management skills

If you want to know how to improve these skills, follow these tips:

1. Study other companies

Identify a list of companies that successfully underwent change plans and study them. Analyse to find out what they did well and also take note of the challenges they encountered. You may access industry journals or visit the corporate websites of these companies to gain more insight and knowledge about their implementation processes. You may find certain successful skills or traits to emulate and apply lessons learnt from these companies to your own organisation's situation.

2. Consult an experienced mentor

Develop your change manangement skills by learning directly from a senior change management professional. Consider expanding your professional network by attending conferences, trade shows or industry events. Speak to seasoned change managers or specialists with a good track record of navigating their organisations through change. Ask how they addressed obstacles like employee resistance or process disruptions. The guidance and expertise of an experienced mentor can provide you with valuable insights. This can help you make good decisions and successfully implement changes that benefit the organisation.

Related: What Does a Change Manager Do? (With Definition and Duties)

How to highlight change management skills

Here are some tips on how to highlight change management skills in your cover letter, on your resume and during job interviews:

1. Change management skills for a cover letter

You may want to first research on the likely changes your recruiting company may be carrying out. This can help you decide the most relevant change management skills to write about in your cover letter. Describe a couple of work situations in which you helped your previous employers overcome challenges during their organisation change, be it staff-related or due to other implementation issues.

2. Change management skills for a resume

To attract the attention of the hiring managers, it is more useful to highlight key skills applicable to executing a successful change management programme in this resume. These include strong leadership, effective communication with empathy or strategic decision-making skills. You may also include any important technical skills like data analysis and risk management, which can be useful when interpreting results and performance improvements from the change.

3. Change management skills for a job interview

During the interview, recount a past change initiative that your company underwent and your role in the process. Explain how you used your skills to manage the change process and communicate with the employees about the benefits. You may also share how you worked with your team on implementing the change process for your organisation.

Related: Risk Manager Skills: Definition and Examples

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