Change management, the controlled implementation of required changes within a system, is a phrase that is overused. But why is it repeated so often? Because those who use it see its value and recognize that it’s necessary for successful implementation of their initiatives. For new initiatives to stick and truly make an impact, change management is a must. Therefore, when working with new construction, arguably a system’s largest initiative, change management should be at the forefront of your discussions.

Breaking up the definition of change management and focusing on the phrase “required change” makes it easier to see the link between change management and activation of new construction. Most things that change for healthcare workers are generally required. For example, transitioning from paper to electronic medical records, using a new brand of medical equipment or supply, or updated best practices for clinical care are all required changes for healthcare staff. Staff are mandated to accept and implement these changes regardless of personal preference. Imagine having all these changes in addition to having to figure out where to enter the building, where to park, where to pick up medical supplies, how to use the nurse call, how to use the p-tube stations, how to use the new high-tech beds or badges. It’s overwhelming, and that’s only a fraction of the changes staff face when transitioning into a new building. Operational, transitional, and activation planning prepares all staff to provide safe and efficient care on day one. But without change management and considering how the magnitude of these changes will affect their mental state, employees have the potential to be dissatisfied with their employer and possibly experience burnout at a much quicker pace.

The excitement of moving into a new building might be enough for some staff to reconcile with the new changes and adopt them without hesitation, but change isn’t for everyone. Some employees have been working in the same unit, parking in the same spot, eating in the same cafeteria for decades. Those employees are excited about the opportunity to provide better care for their patients, but they might not be excited to change up their day-to-day routine.

Having a change management expert as part of the activation planning team is crucial to the success of employee retention during and after the move. Including change management tools such as Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, Culture Mapping, or ADKAR Analysis will not only help with early adoption of changes for your employees, but it shows a willingness to invest in the success of all employees. Change management provides a pathway for them to come to terms with, accept, and adopt the new changes being thrown at them. Once all changes are adopted chances are they might even have a few ideas to make the new processes and or systems being implemented even better.

Ultimately the success of a new building relies on the success of its employees. Investing in change management during the activation of your new space is investing in the success and satisfaction of your employees.

To learn more about activation planning, read our blogs Activation Readiness: Are You Sure You Didn’t Forget Something? and Activation Readiness: The Devil Is in the Details.