The ADKAR change model is among those first introduced to new students of change management. And, its value is recognized by veteran-practitioners, as well. Today, among other items, we'll provide an overview and review its 5 steps:
Have a question about ADKAR? Ask it in our change management section.
The distinct elements of the ADKAR model have been described as appropriate for those new to change management because of its focus on human engagement, and it's been applied in practice by more than 3,500 organizations (Ali et al., 2021).
Wong et al. (2019) suggest 2 significant advantages in using ADKAR.
1. The 5 steps and terminology are easily understood and applied by producers, managers, and senior leaders.
2. The model can be applied and scaled in organizations of varying sizes and levels of diversity.
The awareness step speaks to who knows about and understands the need for change. Knowledge of issue in the board room does not equate to comprehension of urgency at the store level.
One email about planned changes won't do it. Consider multiple forms of communication, digital and in-person, with opportunity for questions to be asked, feedback to be provided, and adjustments to be made.
If you were planning a road trip, this would be where you go over the map, planned route, and things to look forward to at specific points along the way.
Sticking with the road trip theme, just because you've described the trip to your mates, doesn't mean they'll want to go through with it. The same will be true of stakeholders of change. They may understand the proposed change, yet some may not be supporters. Resistance to change is likely to appear, if it hadn't before.
Whether road trip passengers or coworkers, their active participation in planning, and refining, the voyage will enhance their levels of buy-in and engagement. They'll care about the process and the outcome.
Get a majority of your workforce wanting to work toward successful change and positive results are more likely to follow.
The knowledge step speaks to your employees' understanding of how to operate in two areas:
To provide here, consider the different types of training that might benefit your company. Among these could be:
During my undergrad, I'd studied Physical Education and Exercise Science, and prepared to work in hospitals performing cardiac rehabilitation and stress testing procedures. In addition to book learning, while I had the benefit of time in the lab, practicing techniques and protocols, it wasn't until an internship where I was fully-immersed in my responsibilities. This was the transition of knowledge to ability.
The same is true of organizational change, where it must be verified that the knowledge gained in step 3 of the ADKAR change model can be successfully applied in step 4.
A company I worked with planned a roll-out of a staffed exercise circuit, using machines on the gym floor. Some locations hadn't received vital equipment, while others were fully-operational. For staff without, their understanding was built on knowledge from training manuals, yet they'd not had opportunity to apply their learning. Visits to the equipped clubs allowed for the hands-on training time necessary to support their ability.
You've invested time and resources in extensive communication and training. What happens once the change leaders head to their next project or assignment? Wishful thinking suggests that learning has been absorbed, it's being applied appropriately, and that new employees are onboarded and trained so they're able to continue operations in the ways intended.
Training and operations manuals don't have wishing and hoping as viable strategies. But, you can organize the systems through which progress checks, advanced trainings, and new hire orientations take place to keep your well-oiled machine running as freshly as it was on launch day.
That sort of predictability, leading to business sustainability, is a key reason that organizations decide to adopt and implement formal processes like the ADKAR change model.
If you've been attending to some, or all, of these areas informally, and the results have been inconsistent, embedding a formal process can help.
Rather than jump right to delivery and implementation, an assessment to determine the change model and types of communication and training necessary is a good first step. Book a performance call and we'll talk shop to see how we might be able to help. Talk soon!
David Bohmiller, MBA, MS (he/him/his)
Founder, CEO and Consulting Executive
➡️ Inevitabl's Most Popular Content & Resources
Build change management and leadership skills as a Professional Member of our private community.
Have questions? Contact us.
1 call may be all you need to clear obstacles, inform your next action, & proceed with confidence.
Have questions? Contact us.
I work with determined professionals to help build change leaders. Let's achieve more together.
Ali, M. A., Mahmood, A., Zafar, U., & Nazim, M. (2021). The Power of ADKAR Change Model in Innovative Technology Acceptance under the Moderating Effect of Culture and Open Innovation. LogForum, 17(4), 485–502. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.17270/J.LOG.2021.623
Kaminski, J. (2022). Theory Applied to Informatics – The Prosci ADKAR Model. Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics, 17(2), 1–7.
Wong, Q., Lacombe, M., Keller, R., Joyce, T., & OʼMalley, K. (2019). Leading Change with ADKAR. Nursing Management, 50(4), 28–35. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1097/01.NUMA.0000554341.70508.75