This research project is aimed at uncovering best practice guidance regarding change management to achieve shift configurations for continuous operations. Successful change management is planned, project managed and should include all stakeholders from inception. The role of management in change management should evolve from that of designer communicator to conceptualisation facilitator.
It is necessary to move away from focusing mainly on the monetary reward to effectiveness and long-term sustainability. The stakeholders are eager to ensure that mines produce profitably and not scale down, retrench and close.
Research and development
The team conducted a literature review to seek and identify global practices and best practice guidance/trends. Although research regarding shift systems and continuous operations is plentiful, the body of knowledge pertaining to research dealing specifically with change management is slim. Interviews were conducted with key stakeholders such as mine management and workers, who were represented by unions. The objective of the interviews was to gain insights into best practice rather than manage expectations. Union interviews were conducted with Solidarity, AMCU, NUM, and UASA. Interviews were conducted with both management members as well as union leadership. In this regard, effort was made to include people who had practical experience of using change management principles to implement continuous shift patterns or operations.
As part of the literature review, a number of change management models were reviewed to determine their applicability to meet the identified best practice for an inclusive change management process within the minerals sector context. Of those evaluated, it was found that change management processes based on the Prosci 3-phase model may best meet the context.
The first phase is preparing for change, which entails defining the change management strategy, preparing the change management team, and developing the sponsorship model. The second phase is managing change, which entails defining and implementing change management plans. The third and final phase is reinforcing the change, which entails collecting and analysing the feedback, diagnosing gaps and managing resistance, and implementing corrective actions and celebrating success.
This research was commissioned to People Success Africa. The researcher involved is Albert de Beer, Director of People and Consulting.
The above discussion on the change management approach and model suggested is based on an initial study, and the findings still need to be tested and verified in the minerals sector context in relation to shift configurations.