Top 5 Change Management Trends for 2024

What does 2024 have in store for change management? Last year saw the biggest-ever tech layoffs, and the emergence of an AI that can write, paint, draw and code pretty well. Uncertainty persists in the economy and is likely to remain in the foreseeable future, prompting organizations to rethink their strategies and operations. Amidst this backdrop, AI has grown into a transformative force, witnessing significant adoption across various industries. From increasing productivity to enhancing decision-making, it has woven its way into the fabric of the workplace.

All of which underscore this fact: rapid-fire change isn’t going anywhere. HR professionals and corporate leaders alike must stay up-to-date on the most important change management trends if they want to lead their organizations effectively in the future.

We compiled five of the top change management trends likely to shape the field in 2024. As you'll see, managing change is changing, and HR leaders will need to adapt in order to stay ahead of the curve. Whether you're a seasoned CHRO or new to the field, this will give you a glimpse into what change management’s immediate future has in store.

A Shift From Viewing Change as an Event to Change as a Process

Traditionally, companies have treated change as a one-time event: something that happens and then is over. But as HR leaders are starting to realize, change isn’t a one-and-done event — it's a continuous and ongoing process. At Volonte, we’ve known this since we launched in 2020! It’s heartening to see more industry thought leaders gradually joining us. 

Adopting this perspective ensures companies aren’t caught completely off-guard when disruptions come their way. In fact, as they become more accustomed to constant change, they’re able to capitalize on opportunities for innovation and profit. In 2024, we expect more forward-looking companies to embrace change as a continuous process.

Change Will Become Non-Linear, Proactive, and Employee-Centric

Organizations are fast moving away from linear, reactive, top-down approaches and adopting non-linear, proactive approaches that place employees at the center of the transformation process. Why? There are a few key reasons.

First and foremost, companies are realizing that change isn’t a one-and-done event — it's a continuous and ongoing process. At Volonte, we’ve known this since we launched in 2020! t’s heartening to see more industry thought leaders gradually joining us. As organizations reckon with this fact, it's becoming apparent that linear approaches that treat change as a one-time event to be managed are doomed to fail.

Next, high change failure rates persist — as many as 70% of transformation initiatives fail to meet their goals, largely because they don't involve their employees as key stakeholders and resources. When employees don't understand why change is happening, why it's important, what's expected out of them, and have little to no avenues to get involved, they become passengers of change instead of key drivers. This is behind the dreaded "change resistance" that companies struggle with, simply because they fail to involve employees.

To use change as rocket-fuel for growth, companies are increasingly embracing a more proactive, positive, and empowering approach to change: building "change readiness" instead of focusing on change management. These approaches place employees at the center, involving them as key stakeholders in planning and implementing a change, ultimately boosting change adoption rates and helping organizations move fast and gain a competitive advantage.

Change Management Will Become More Data-Driven

Change management is shifting towards a more data-driven paradigm. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the value of harnessing data to inform and enhance their change strategies.

Utilizing predictive analytics stands out as a key aspect of this trend, enabling organizations to anticipate potential challenges before they arise. By leveraging data-driven insights, organizations can tailor change strategies accordingly. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) that are in line with change objectives is another critical facet of the data-driven trend. This enables organizations to quantitatively measure the success and impact of change initiatives, thereby allowing an objective assessment of the efficacy of their strategies.

Implementing real-time monitoring systems takes data-driven change management to the next level. These systems allow organizations to track the progress of change initiatives in real-time, facilitating immediate adjustments based on emerging trends. Additionally, analyzing employee feedback and sentiment through data-driven tools provides valuable insights into how teams are experiencing and handling change. And as organizations embrace artificial intelligence, leveraging data becomes not only a trend but a necessity for effective change management in the digital age.

AI Will Enter Change Management

There has already been a lot of talk about AI and Generative AI – a subset of artificial intelligence characterized by its ability to autonomously create and adapt content based on patterns and data inputs – and how they are poised to become a cornerstone of innovation in workplaces. Yet most HR functions are unprepared to implement AI-related initiatives effectively.

AI can analyze employee sentiments, anticipate resistance points, and dynamically adjust change strategies in real-time, fostering a more responsive and adaptive approach. Generative AI could potentially be used to create surveys about change processes, or even to prepare reports and summaries about the status of the change, analyzing where it is doing well and which areas need improvement.

Increasing Reliance on Enterprise Change Management Software

As organizations deal with increasingly complex shifts, they need the tools to help them streamline and track their enterprise transformations efficiently. So it's no surprise that Enterprise Change Management (ECM) Softwares have emerged as a pivotal tool to support organizations through large transformations. In 2024, we expect more and more companies to rely on such software.