The Ultimate Guide to Change Management Change Champions and Agents

project champion roles and responsibilitiesWelcome to the world of change management, where the winds of transformation are always blowing! If you’ve ever found yourself in the midst of a significant change initiative within your organization, you already know that navigating these waters can be both exhilarating and challenging.

That’s where our guide on “Managing Change Champion Networks” comes in. We’re here to help you understand the importance of change agents and change champions, the unsung heroes who play a pivotal role in driving, advocating for, and ultimately achieving successful change.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps, from identifying the right change champions to engaging them effectively, and even rewarding their commitment. We’ll explore the magic formula for determining how many change champions you need and delve into the time commitment required for these vital roles as well as cover the essentials like the change champion job description and the change agent network definition.

Change is inevitable, and to succeed, you need a crew of passionate individuals who can champion the cause and help steer the ship through the turbulent seas of transformation. It is a combined effort from the change agent and guiding team.

By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the turbulent waters of change management and ensure your organization’s successful voyage to new horizons. Ahoy, change champions!

Ready for a brief insight? It’s just around the corner. If you’re eager to uncover the role of change champions, stay with us for a deeper dive.

Quick Summary

A Closer Look at Change Champions and Their Contributions

A change champion is someone who actively supports and promotes a significant organizational change. They advocate for the change, help with communication, reduce resistance, and support training. This role requires a substantial time commitment and a visible presence within the change management network. Change champions focus on support, distinct from the strategic role of a change manager. Creating a network of change agents and tracking champion activities are essential for a successful change initiative.

OCMS Portal Champions main features

Are you tired of dealing with overwhelming and complex champion network change management software? Then it’s time to try out OCMS Portal. This All-in-one OCM solution includes the Change Champions Agents Network Tool, designed to manage the change champion process of identifying, engaging, and leveraging change agents effectively. Doing all the hard work for you in setting up a change agent network. Sign up for free today (no credit card required).

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Distinguishing Change Agents from Champions of Change

A change agent is someone instrumental in driving organizational change, often including Change Managers and Project Managers responsible for change planning and management. Change agents focus on actively driving change as part of their daily job.

Change agents and change champions are sometimes used interchangeably, but they differ in their roles:

  • A change agent is responsible for planning, delivering, and tracking change. Their primary role involves change management, including communications, training, and resistance management.
  • A change champion supports and advocates for change, but change management is not their primary job. They are called upon to endorse and support change during periods of transition.

Both roles may overlap, with an agent taking on the champion role and vice versa, depending on the organization’s needs. Organizations may use either term, “change agent” or “change champion,” and it’s essential to understand the specific meaning within your organization to identify the group designated as change agents.

All-in-One OCM Change Management Software

Understanding the Different Types of Change Agents and Champions

Change agents play essential roles in planning, delivering, and managing change within an organization. Various types of change agents include Change Managers, Change Management Leads, Project Managers, HR Specialists, and more. Their primary responsibilities involve driving and overseeing change initiatives.

Similarly, change champions, who advocate and support change within their organizations, come from various departments and roles. They include Change Champions in HR, Sales, Operations, Legal, Marketing, Engineering, and more. These individuals help promote and facilitate change within their respective areas of expertise.

In essence, both change agents and change champions contribute to the successful implementation of change initiatives in their organizations, with varying roles and responsibilities across different professional types and departments.

The Key Elements of a Change Champion and Agent Network

A change network is a group of individuals that comprises change champions and change agents. These individuals are responsible for managing both external and internal change within their organization or group and they have many benefits. Here are just a few:

  • Internal change agents/champions help facilitate change across groups
  • Change management agents/champions assist in identifying and mitigating resistance
  • Change agents/champions provide others with an informal environment to share their fears, excitement, and concerns
  • Change management agents/champions help impacted audiences to embrace, learn, and adopt the change
  • Change networks are implemented at the grass-root, impacted-audience level
  • Champions and agents make it easier for those impacted by the change to better understand the factors driving the change
  • External and internal change agent/champion networks provide a “safe space” where impacted individuals can freely voice concerns and get empathy

network change management process

The OCMS Portal change management All-in-One suite provides the most comprehensive change champion network software among other tools to help with change champion training and creating communication champions in companies. Start formulating your change champion network strategy today. Try all of this for free (no credit card needed).

Defining Change Champion Responsibilities

To identify “Champions of Change,” defining their roles and responsibilities is the first step. These roles should align with the specific needs of the change initiative. A sample list of change champion roles includes:

  • Distributing communications.
  • Serving as early superusers and participating in testing.
  • Training and coaching colleagues on the change.
  • Engaging with group leaders and managers.
  • Providing ongoing support to impacted users.
  • Identifying and addressing points of resistance.
  • Collecting grassroots feedback and conveying it to Change and Project Management.

It’s important to assess change champions’ available time, as their availability can affect communication flows within departments. Change agents, such as Prosci or CCMP, have distinct roles in planning, designing, and implementing change management plans, identifying champions, and managing agent networks. They use criteria and input from department heads and leadership to select suitable change champions.

Effective Engagement of Change Champions and Agents

Engaging change champions and agents is vital. Start by reaching out to potential champions to ensure their commitment, as willingness is more effective than coercion. After securing their commitment, schedule a kick-off meeting to officially launch the change agent network, marking the beginning of their roles in supporting and promoting change within the organization.

Detailed Deep Dive

Complete Guide to Establishing the Best Change Champions & Change Agent Networks – Everything You need

This free guide has been published for Champions of Change, Change Practitioners, Change Champions, Change Agents, Project Managers, HR, and other practitioners.

It provides step-by-step best practices for launching, managing, and supporting the best network of change champions and agents. It also outlines change champion toolkit templates and tools you can use for championing change in the workplace.

change champion is a key role in technical solution true or false

Before doing a deep dive and providing you with everything you need to know about getting the best change champions and networks for your organization, group, or project, let us first provide some quick definitions using the sections below, including a change champion vs change agent definition, champion of change meaning, change champion roles and responsibilities, and different types of change agents.

Champions of Change Table of Contents – Everything You Need to Know

Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section on this champion of change guide, or click any link below to go directly to that section.

1. Toolkit for Managing Change Champions & Agents Networks
2. What is a Change Champion, and What Does a Champion Do?
3. What is a Change Agent? How is an Agent Different from Champions of Change?
4. What are the Types of Change Agents?
5. Types of Change Champions?
6. What is a Change Network?
7. In Which Phase of Your Project Do You Start Your Change Champion/Agent Network?
8. Benefits of Change Champions & Change Agents
9. Change Agents vs Champions of Change vs Change Leaders or Sponsors
10. Identifying Change Agents and Champions
11. Engaging Network of Champions
12. Managing and Rewarding the Champions of Change & Agents   

13. How Many Change Champions Are Needed?
14. What is the Time Commitment for a Change Champion?
15. End-to-End Process for Establishing a Champion for Change Network

Do you have any questions about the importance of change agent or a change agent network best practices? Please, reach out and let us know.

Toolkit for Managing Change Champions & Agents Networks

Do you want to jumpstart managing champions of change network? You can use OCMS Portal’s Change Agent & Champion Tool to help.

The OCMS Portal Change Network Management Tool is an online change manager command center that is designed to help you plan, manage, and execute a successful change project with external and internal change agent examples and templates. It allows you to track and manage all change champion activities.

Click below to preview this champion for change toolkit for managing all aspects of your network for change management.

project champion roles and responsibilities

Change Management Network – Templates & Tool

Do you have any questions on “champion change management?” or “what is a change agent in leadership?”. Or do you have additional examples of “change agent meaning” you would like to see listed in this guide? Please reach out and let us know.

What is a Change Champion Example, and What Does a Champion Do?

Who is a change champion? A change champion is an individual who supports and champions a change that is impacting their organization or group. A champion is often part of a network of change champions who represent the groups that will be impacted by any type of change including business change, climate change, systems change, M&A, process change, policy change, economic change, cultural change, technology transformation, or other types of change.

The role of a champion involves advocating, supporting, and championing change within their organization or group.

In addition, your role as a champion of change will involve helping to reduce resistance to the change, helping to cascade down communications, supporting end-user training, and many more. In the sections below, we provide additional champion change examples, as well as a detailed overview of change champion roles and responsibilities.

change agent project

Don’t Miss: OCMS Portal Software with Change Champion Example, Samples, Templates, and Reporting Dashboard.

If you are being asked to champion change within your organization, something to note is that you will need to invest an adequate amount of time commitment, as well as play a visible role in the change management network.

Champion roles at work are different from a change manager’s role. See the sections below for a champion of change vs. change agent definition, as well as information on establishing a change agent network, and how to track all change champion activities.

All-in-One OCM Change Management Software

Do you have additional examples on “who is a champion?” or have questions on a “communication champion role?” Please reach out and let us know. Also, don’t miss: Change Management Network Software – Templates & Tool

What is a Change Agent? How is an Agent Different from Champions of Change?

What is the true meaning of a change agent? A change agent is anyone who is instrumental in driving change within an organization. Examples of change agents include Change Managers and Project Managers who are responsible for planning and managing a change.

The change agent network role is focused on driving change versus supporting change. In addition to their regular job or role, an agent (champion of change) can also be a champion (champion for change).

Are you looking to champion change within your organization? Click here: OCMS Portal Champions of Change Tool.

engagement champion role

Oftentimes, the term change agent is used interchangeably with the term change champion, but they are not exactly the same. Some organizations, however, prefer to use one over the other.

Change champion vs change agent – differences:

  • An agent drives change – it is their job to plan, successfully deliver and track a change. That person is a champion of change, and their day-to-day job is change management: communications, training, resistance management, etc.
  • A champion supports and advocates for change. That person is a champion for change, and change management is not their day-to-day job. Instead, during a time of change they are being solicited to support the change and to be advocates (“champions”).

As mentioned above, an agent can also play the role of a champion based on how their organization or group is impacted. And vice versa. The sections below provide additional change champion vs change agent examples, including information on change agent activities.

If you’re using the term “Change Agent” in your organization, you’ll want to understand exactly how it’s being used so you understand the group denoted as change agents. Do you have any questions or feedback on the role of a change champion vs change agent? Or do you have additional examples of other “types of change agents” you would like to see listed in this guide? Please reach out and let us know.

Don’t Miss: Change Management Network Software – Templates & Tool

What are the Types of Change Agents?

As mentioned above, the role of a change agent is slightly different from that of a project champion role. The change agent’s roles and responsibilities involve planning, delivering, tracking, and managing change.

Here are the different types of change agents:

1. Change Manager
2. Change Management Lead
3. Change Practitioner
4. Project Manager
5. Program Manager
6. HR Specialist
7. Coach
8. Trainer
9. Group Leader
10. Firm Leader
11. Change Agent Network
12. Communications Specialist
13. Marketing Specialist
14. A change agent in HRM
15. Project Champion
16. Change Agent Network Prosci
17. And more

There is a wide range of professional roles that can be considered change agent types. In essence, an internal change agent is anyone whose day-to-day job is centered around delivering any kind of change within their group and organization. Do you have other types of change agents’ examples you would like to see listed above? Please reach out and let us know.

Do you need help or tools to manage your change champion activities? Click here: Change Management Champions Templates & Tool

Types of Change Champions?

1. Change champion in HR
2. Sales organization champion
3. Operations group change champion
4. Legal department change advocate
5. Marketing organization change team
6. Champion of change in HRM
7. Engineering champion
8. Communication champion
9. Change agent network Prosci
10. Culture and change champion
11. And many more

Do you have additional examples of different types of change champions? Please, reach out and let us know. On the subject line include: “Change champion example.” Also, don’t miss: Champion Change Examples, Software, Templates & Tool

What is a Change Network?

A change network is a collective group of individuals that includes champions of change, and change agents who are responsible for external or internal change management for their group or organization.

A change management network of change champions/agents is critical to any mid-to-large scale organizational, government, or group change as it helps to increase awareness at the grassroots level, reduce resistance to the change, support leadership engagement, and provide a 2-way communication mechanism.

Are you looking to champion change within your organization? Click here: OCMS Portal Champion for Change Templates & Tool for more information about the OCMS Portal best-in-class solution for external and internal change agent networks. This change management software allows you to track and manage all change champion activities.

project champion role

Let us know if you have any questions or comments about this guide for planning and managing a network of champions.

Do you want a jumpstart in managing all change champion activities? You can use OCMS Portal’s Change Agents in Business Workplaces Tool that’s part of the All-in-One change management suite to help.

The OCMS Portal Change Agents in Business Workplace Toolkit is an online change manager command center that is designed to help you plan, manage, and execute a successful change project with champions and agents.

importance of change agents

OCMS Portal – Change Champion Tool

Click above to preview a champion of change toolkit for managing all aspects of your network for change management.

In Which Phase of Your Project Do You Start Your Champions of Change / Agent Network?

If you are following a change model, such as the OCM Solution Change Management Framework, you’ll note that there are typically different change activities performed at different phases of a project.

For example, the OCM Solution Change Model has five phases:

  • Phase 1: Assess
  • Phase 2: Develop
  • Phase 3: Deploy
  • Phase 4: Normalize
  • Phase 5: Exit

who is a change champion

Example of the flow between Stakeholder Assessment and the Change Champions Network Management phase of a change project.

You’ll conduct change champion activities related to the Change Agent Network in Phase 2 through 4.

During Phase 2 (Develop), as you create your change champion/agent network plan, you’ll be reviewing your change impact assessment and stakeholder analysis, to identify potential change agents/champions to invite to your network to help champion the change.

The official kick-off of the Change Agent Network will be in Phase 3 (Deploy) when you begin your change plan deployment.

You’ll work with the change network throughout Phase 3, and then in Phase 4 (Normalize), you’ll continue to rely on your Champions of Change to help you identify any adoption issues that need to be addressed to ensure a change is successfully sustained.

Illustration: Sample Change Champions/Agents Management Template

Change Champions Agent Network Tool

Do you have any questions about this guide on what does change agent mean or what does a change agent do? Please reach out and let us know.

Benefits of Change Champions and Change Agents

What are the benefits and advantages of setting up a champion for change and change agent network?

Benefits of change management networks of change champions and agents include the fact that it is easier for impacted individuals to share concerns about a change when they know they are sharing it with someone who is in a similar position as them: someone who will experience similar levels of impact from the change as they would.

Decades of organizational change management studies, including those conducted by Prosci, have shown that people get through organizational change by relying on their relationships with others in the workplace.

It is much easier for you to understand the driving factors, as well as the benefits of the change if that information is conveyed to you by your colleague (a champion of change). This is one of the biggest benefits of change champions and change networks.

Change Champion Tool for Change Managers & Project Leads

While leaders and managers play a vital role in increasing the successful implementation of a change and championing change from the top, people need an informal environment to share their fears, joys, and concerns in order to eventually commit to the change. That is human nature. And, at the workplace, we relate best with people that are similar to us in profession and function: our colleagues and co-workers.

A change management change network is of great value and benefit because it consists of change champions – front-line employees (peers) and individuals across the company who have accepted the change and are willing to become advocates for the change. These individuals are championing change by engaging their coworkers to increase buy-in and acceptance of the change and are often early adopters of the change.

Do you need help or tools to manage your change champion activities? Click here: Change Management Champions Templates & Tool

change agent meaning

Change agents and champions having a brainstorming session.

Summarized List of Benefits – Change Management Agent/Champions Networks:

  • Internal change agents/champions help facilitate change across groups
  • Change management agents/champions assist in identifying and mitigating resistance
  • Change agents/champions provide others with an informal environment to share their fears, excitement, and concerns
  • Change management agents/champions help impacted audiences to embrace, learn, and adopt the change
  • Change networks are implemented at the grass-root, impacted-audience level
  • Champions and agents make it easier for those impacted by the change to better understand the factors driving the change
  • External and internal change agent/champion networks provide a “safe space” where impacted individuals can freely voice concerns and get empathy

Standing up a network for change management requires an upfront time investment, but internal change agents and/or external-facing champions are true differentiators in driving change adoption.

Change champion roles and change agent responsibilities are very important because these individuals will be helping to manage the inevitable ambiguity and uncertainty associated with implementing change.

Change Champion Tool for Change Managers & Project Leads

Additional benefits of change management agent and change champion networks include:

  • Reducing the pressure on the centralized transformation team to deliver change
  • Identifying issues on the ground and raising them quickly to the change and project teams
  • Gathering feedback on the communications campaign and providing a detailed level of feedback to the change teams
  • Identifying key resistors of change
  • Assisting with managing resistance to change amongst their colleagues
  • Becoming super users and assisting in the training of users

There are many more benefits of change champions and agents. The above section only highlights some of the key change champion benefits.

Making the Case for Change Management OCM

Do you have any questions about the change champion characteristics? Please reach out and let us know.

Change Champion Roles and Responsibilities | Change Agents vs Champions of Change vs Change Leaders

How are change champions different from change agents? How are change agents different from change leaders? These are all great questions. See below for answers on the role of networks in organizational change.

What is a Project Change Champion?

A project change champion is an individual who volunteers or is nominated to support a change and help facilitate adoption and acceptance within their groups. Driving the change is not part of a change champion’s normal job role. Instead, their change championing role is something they are doing in addition to their normal day-to-day job.

change management change agent

A champion for change can be in a company leadership role, but they don’t need to be. If you have a largely impacted group, it’s best to have a change champion that is on the same level as most stakeholders in that group so they can identify with them.

Leaders will typically already be coached on helping facilitate and advocate for the change that their direct reports are experiencing. The way that a champion for change differs is that they can often discuss change support or resistance more informally because they’re not the person supervising an employee that may have a problem with the change project.

Change Champion Software for Projects

The expectations the change management team has of a change champion are very important for you to note when you are developing your champion network plan. This includes setting the time expectations, roles, tasks, and responsibilities, and expected change champion activities for each project champion role.

Sample Template for Managing Change Champion Network Tasks

Tasks Checklist

Preview OCMS Portal’s Project Task Checklist

What is a Project Change Agent?

As mentioned above, some organizations use Change Agent and Change Champion to describe the same role in a change project. It’s just two different terms that can be used interchangeably.

For others, a change agent is an individual whose job function involves driving a change (requirements gathering, planning, designing, testing, rolling out, and managing a change). Change agents vs change champions: In this use of the term, unlike change champions, a change agent’s day-to-day job involves managing and implementing the change versus being limited to supporting the change.

Examples of project change agents include Change Management Practitioners and Project Managers. Other examples of change agents include Prosci Certified Organizational Change Managers and Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™).

Prosci, CCMP, and all other certified or non-certified Change Agents are primarily responsible for developing strategies for implementing business changes, and also delivering the strategic and tactical phases of the change implementation.

A change agent in HRM is often a critical agent of change.

What is a Change Leader or Change Sponsor?

A sponsor or change leader is responsible for the successful implementation of the change within their respective organizations. Impacted individuals often look to their leaders for direction in the time of change, which makes it critical that leaders are willing to support and visibly advocate for the change.

Not every leader is a change leader. Change Leaders are those leaders that are willing to support the change; they generally show their commitment via visible and active behaviors. In essence, they lead from the front and advocate for change.

The sections below provide additional information and examples of the key roles of change champions, agents, and leaders.

See the very last section for an overall on a champion’s role, as well as an additional “change champions definition” and the role of networks in organizational change that you can include on your change management plans for championing a change.

Change Champion Tool for Project Management

Identifying “Champions of Change” Roles

The first step to identifying change agents and champions is to define the roles and responsibilities that you need the change champions to fulfill. In other words, what are the qualities you seek in a champion and an agent?

Every change and every project are different, so you might need to customize the list of change champion/agent roles presented below.

Sample list of change champion roles

  • Assist with disseminating and cascading communications
  • Become early superusers, and be involved in the testing process
  • Understand how the change impacts their fellow colleagues, and help train and coach impacted employees to use the new processes and tools
  • Facilitate engagement with group leaders and managers
  • Continue to support, coach, and engage impacted users after Go-Live
  • Help identify points of resistance
  • Help to remediate points of resistance
  • Assist in gathering input and feedback at the grass-roots level on communications, engagement, and training campaigns, and providing feedback to the Change Management and Project Management managers

One factor that you’ll want to know and document in your change champion network management Excel or change agent network software is the available bandwidth (i.e., available time) of the change agent/champion.

Illustration – 
OCMS Portal Change Agent/Champion Management Template

internal change agent

A champion of change that does not have much time to complete all the tasks required of them, might cause you to have a bottleneck in the communications you need to flow in both directions with a certain department or group.

It’s important to have an estimate of the time needed for change champions activities (x hours per week), which is why you need to define the roles and responsibilities so you can provide that to selected change champions. (Keep reading for details on the average time commitment for a change champion.)

Change Agent Role in Change Management

If you are using the extended definition of a change agent (e.g., similar to a change manager or project manager) and not using this term interchangeably with a change champion, then their role will differ.

The role that a Prosci, CCMP, or other change agent plays for a change management project includes:

  • Planning, designing, and implementing the change management plans
  • Identifying change champions and additional change agents
  • Establishing and managing the champion and change agent networks

An agent of change will use several criteria to identify change champions to add to the network. Additionally, they will seek out recommendations from impacted department heads and leadership as to which of their direct reports would make good change champions.

Identifying Change Champions (Selection Criteria)

The second step to identifying champion change network candidates is to define the criteria for selection.

Sample criteria include:

  • An individual that is respected and liked by peers within impacted groups
  • Someone with good interpersonal skills
  • An individual that can be committed to the success of the organization
  • Someone who is flexible and courageous in speaking up for what they believe in

Attributes helpful to a change champion:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Being a team player
  • Value developing relationships
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Empathy and the ability to understand and support someone, while also helping dispel resistance
  • Organizational skills
  • Experience with past change projects is helpful, but not a necessity
  • Understanding of the change that is occurring (this is the job of the change team to impart)
  • Responsible and can be counted on to get things done

The next step in identifying change champions and change agent examples of potential candidates involves engaging with leaders and managers of the impacted groups to identify a potential list of candidates that can either volunteer or “be volunteered by their manager” to be part of the business champion network.

See also: Change Management Champions Change Tools for Managing Change Networks.

Meet with Managers to Identify Champions

Start with 1-on-1 meetings or group meetings with the managers. During the meeting sessions, provide an overview of the business change initiatives, and walk them through the benefits of a change network. Review the change champion roles and responsibilities and the process and timeline that will be used to establish the network of champions.

The key objective of the meeting will be to solicit each manager’s help in identifying change champion candidates from within their group.

For help, click here: Step-by-Step Plan for Establishing Change Networks

When asking managers to identify potential resources that can be change champions, why is it useful to present the criteria and roles of a change champion? This is useful because knowing this information will enable managers to make faster decisions on which employees can best fit the change champion role, and then to propose these individuals as potential champions.

After the meeting, provide a mechanism and a deadline for managers to submit the names of potential change champions and agents.

Pro Tips:

Change champions/agents must see their role as a good opportunity and not something being forced on them. One way to accomplish this is for managers and senior leaders, rather than the project or change teams, to communicate to change champions that they have been nominated and explain that it’s an honor to be selected as a change champion or agent, and also highlight the characteristics that contributed to each person’s nomination.

See also: Change Management Champions Change Tools.

If the Change Champions Network is elevated and respected in the organization, then people will naturally want to be a part of it. To make this happen, ask for leadership’s help in elevating the status and prestige of being on the Change Champion Network and to highlight it in their internal company communications where possible (newsletters, company chat channels, etc.).

Below is an example of using an application like Microsoft Teams to elevate the Change Champions Network and the change champion. Use of the “Praise” feature on the app serves two purposes:

  • Elevates the prestige of the Change Champions Network so others will see it as an honor to join.
  • Provides positive reinforcement and recognition for the change champion that joined.

change agent in hrm

Example of using Praise in Microsoft Teams to uplift a change champion and the Change Champion Network.

For help, click here: Step-by-Step Plan for Establishing Change Networks

How to Engage Change Champions & Agents

After identifying a top list of best change champions, the next step is to engage with these individuals to onboard them to championing change in the workplace.

But how should you really engage these individuals to get them to champion change in the workplace?

The process for engaging change champions and agents is to first reach out to them to seek their commitment. Just because a person’s manager has proposed that person’s name does not mean the person will be interested in championing change for the project or in the workplace. It makes a world of difference to have an individual that wants to help and is looking forward to the experience, rather than someone who feels forced into championing change in the workplace.

After getting a commitment, you then need to schedule a kick-off session to engage the finalized list of change network change management individuals. This kick-off meeting will be the point of the official launch of the change agent network.

Need help? Click here: Kicking Off the Change Agent Network  Prosci Based Step by Step Plan & Agenda.

Details to Input into Your Prosci Change Champions or Other Agent Management Tool

As you’re putting together and organizing your change champion/agent network and managing the individuals that are part of the network, you’ll want to develop a spreadsheet or use a template to input and track change champion activities.

You can create this change champion template by yourself from scratch based on the information presented on this page. In addition, or as an alternative to save a lot of time, you can use OCM Solution’ #1 Best Change Agent/Champion software. This tool includes simple-to-use data samples, a best-in-class change network planning and tracking template, charts, surveys, and an advanced reporting dashboard to help you easily track and manage champion network activities.

Using your change agent & champion network management template, you should document the following pieces of information for each individual:

  • Change Champion/Agent type
  • Champion/Agent first and last name
  • Job role/title
  • Champion/Agent organizational details (division, department, etc.)
  • Change management experience level
  • Level of coaching/training required
  • Available bandwidth/availability
  • Details on individual’s current situation (more on this below)
  • Planned tasks and engagement strategy
  • Details on how success will be measured
  • Status on performance success
  • Notes to communicate progress in reports to others
  • Details for any tasks that have been assigned to the change champion/agent
  • The geographic location of the individual if you are managing a network in more than one office, city, country, etc.

Illustration – 
OCMS Portal Change Agent/Champion Management Template with Sample Data

OCMS Portal - Champions Free Resources

How do you gather all that data?

You will gather this data during your initial meetings with the change champion’s manager if that manager recommended the person as a change champion and/or during your initial interaction with the change champion themselves.

You’ll want to have a list of questions to use so you capture all the data you need to facilitate change champion tasks and training management.

If using the OCMS Portal Change Agent/Champion Management Tool, you’ll get free surveys to send out to your change champion network that you can edit to customize for your needs. Surveys can be a quick and easy way to gather some of the necessary data about each person.

OCMS Portal Send Champions Survey

Now, let’s discuss a few of those key pieces of information and why it’s important to gather them during your change champion and change agent planning and management.

Change Champion/Agent Types

You will want to designate the change champion/agent type for each change agent and change champion. This will help you easily see who is a superuser, an influencer, an executive, etc.

If you are using other OCMS Portal tools, such as our Stakeholder Analysis Toolkit, then you may have designated this person as a “change champion” stakeholder type in that template. That’s okay because it helps you recognize your change champions and agents easily when working in other areas of your change project software.

However, everyone in the Change Champion/Agent template is a part of the network, so you will instead use “change champion/agent types” to separate champions by an attribute or role within the organization. For example, if you know which change champions/agents are “superusers,” you might tap those individuals to assist with training across different departments.

If you use a change champion network tool that has a dropdown column for “champion/agent type,” you can easily classify your champions & agents by their type and then use that to sort and filter while planning and managing your engagement activities.

champion definition business

Change Management Experience Level

Some of those in the change champion/agent network may have been through change projects before and be more experienced and knowledgeable about the duties of a change champion. For others, this may be their first time acting as a change champion or agent.

Change Champions/Agents are often needed to support change management activities (for example, helping to cascade communications, encouraging others to attend training, and also helping to mitigate resistance). As such, you must understand each individual’s change management experience level (High, Mid, or Low), and document that information.

Individuals with low change management expertise will often require you to provide more coaching and engagement to help them fulfill their roles as Change Champions/Agents.

Level of Coaching/Training Required

This KPI is connected to the level of change management experience and will help you in planning your engagement activities with the change champion/agent.

Those individuals with low or no change management experience will require more of your time, more coaching, and may need more guidance as you’re going through the change implementation. While those champions and agents that have acted in this role before may need minimal guidance from you and your team.

Change Champion Toolkit for Change Managers & Project Leads

Illustration – 
OCMS Portal Change Champion/Agent Mgt Tool Interactive Report

change management reports

Available Bandwidth/Availability

You can’t assume that every change champion or agent is going to have as much time as you’d like for their change engagement, advocacy, communication, and other change champion activities.

Some may already be overwhelmed with their job duties, while others may have more time to devote to the change project. Knowing a champion’s available bandwidth for needed and desired change network activities can help you plan more strategically.

For example, you might have champions with higher availability draft and get approval for a department-wide communication and then share that with champions with low availability, so they can just “click send” instead of having to draft their own communication.

If a change agent/champion hears from you upfront that you respect the fact that they’re busy and will work with their schedule as much as possible, you will have a better chance of getting them to accept and be successful in the role of change agent or champion.

Here are examples of ways you can work with a change champion/agent with low availability:

  • Put things together as much as possible for them (like communications). For example, instead of them having to create an email and then have you review it, just give them the communication ready to go, and all they need to do is click “send.”
  • Expect the change or project team to do more of the heavy lifting for this champion. They also may require more follow-up to ensure tasks are moving forward.
  • Ask the change agent/champion’s supervisor for pockets of time for them to perform some of the needed change champion activities. Be exact, such as “Could I get John for 1.5 hours this Thursday?” Do not just say, “I’m going to need more of John’s time during the project,” because this doesn’t give the supervisor enough detail for adjusting John’s workload. It also helps if the manager has nominated “John” as a change champion, which means they’ll be more understanding of the time demands of that role.

Details on the Individual’s Current Situation

During your initial meeting with the change champion/agent, you’ll want to gather some general details that will help you when engaging with them throughout the change project.

You can then input this information into a column on your change champion network management Excel sheet or cloud template.

You’ll include the answers to questions like:

  • Is the champion excited about being a change agent or are they reluctant?
  • Does the champion/agent have concerns about the project?
  • Does this change champion/agent have control over the project’s budget or timeline?
  • What needs to be known about this individual to facilitate their role as a change champion?

Details on How Success Will Be Measured

One of the other key pieces of information you need to decide is how you will measure successful engagement with the change champion or agent. You don’t want the level of engagement success to be completely objective scoring. It’s important to include specifics.

Scoring the success of the champion’s performance during the project can help future change managers when they are evaluating who in the organization that has been a change champion in the past would be a good candidate to fill that role again. Someone with a “low” success score might not make a good candidate, while someone with a “high” success score may be a top candidate to include as a change champion again.

If you are using a “High,” “Mid,” and “Low” for tracking the engagement success level with a change agent, you need to define what high, mid, and low mean.

Try to use qualitative measurements along with quantitative information for your levels where possible. Qualitative would be a hard number measurement of something, like how many meetings were attended. Quantitative is descriptive and more subjective, such as how positive a person is feeling about a project.

It’s also better to have more than one measurement of each success level. This provides a more robust set of KPIs that cover multiple angles and reduce the risk of champion performance success being based upon just one person’s opinion.

As an example, you might define success measurements as:

what is a change agent in leadership

  • High = Change Champion/Agent has been positive about their role and very responsive; and 4 out of 5 meetings have been attended.
  • Mid = Change Champion/Agent has been positive about their role and fairly responsive but needed some reminders; and 3 out of 5 meetings have been attended.
  • Low = Change Champion/Agent has been dropping the ball and not keeping up with requested tasks; and less than 3 out of 5 meetings have been attended.

Taking the time to define your success measurements ahead of time will make the scoring process go much faster and foster a more accurate assessment.

Organizing Your Information

All of the information you are gathering and tracking about your change champions & agents should be organized and easy for others to access if needed. You can accomplish this by entering it into the OCMS Portal Change Champion Template.

Illustration – 
OCMS Portal Change Network Template for Managing Data – Champions Calculator

OCMS Portal - Change Champions recommendation

Get Your Copy of the OCMS Portal Change Agent / Champion Tool

OCM Solution does 80% of Change Mgt for You

The Change Champion/Agent Network Mgt Tool is part of the OCMS Portal All-in-One change management solution. This platform is an online change manager that is designed to help you plan, manage, and execute a successful change project. Get interactive, real-time analytics and sample data to ramp up the learning curve.

Managing & Rewarding the Network of Change Champions

After launching and establishing the network of change champions, you will want to communicate the launch of the network to the organization, impacted groups, and senior leaders.

In managing the network of change champions/agents, you should meet less frequently in the beginning stages of the project when the purpose is to build awareness. As the project progresses further into the implementation and tactical phase, then you will need more frequent meetings of change agents and change champions.

Meeting Agenda: In the beginning, you will want to cover items such as the project scope, purpose, benefits, and challenges.

And as the project progresses into its tactical phase, then meeting agendas can revolve around more detailed reviews of the change and its impacts, system demonstrations, training plans, and most importantly, a continuous explanation of the change champion’s role at each stage.

And throughout the implementation, it is essential that you reward and recognize the change champions and agents.

Such rewards can involve taking them out to lunch or drinks – most importantly having senior leadership take them out to events or outings. If they are all based in different regions within the country, then schedule an In-Person All-Day workshop, invite all champions to travel to the designated venue for the workshop.

Part of the workshop can involve taking the whole group out for food/drinks or having senior leadership also take them out to events such as golf events, baseball games, hockey games, tournaments, team building events, escape rooms, etc.

For recognition, you should send out emails to senior management, and provide concise updates of the champion roles, and how the change champions are making a major difference in the change implementation.

Recognition to senior leaders will mean a lot to change champions and change agent networks because they know that their leaders are aware of the effort they are putting into the change.

what does change agent mean

It’s important to reward your change champions & agents for their efforts and commitment to the project.

See Also: Best Change Network Management Tool.

How Many Change Champions Are Needed?

How many change management champion roles do you need to fill to support your change or project? A ratio of 1 champion for every 60 impacted end-users is a typical ratio for change management champion roles.

This enables flexibility for which change champions/agents can support the full group of end-users without causing a significant resource drain. Depending on the scale of the project, it might be possible for you to have a 1-100 ratio (1 change champion for every 100 impacted individuals).

Learn more: Change Champions/Agents Network Tool.

What is the Time Commitment for a Change Champion Role?

Time commitment ranges from 5-10% of a person’s weekly work hours, which ranges from 2-4 hours per week. And don’t forget that this change management champion role will be in addition to the person’s normal job and work hours.

End-to-End Process for Establishing a Network of Change Agents, Change Champions, and Change Leaders

In standing up, launching, and managing the best change champion network, change management change agents should apply a process like the one outlined in the change management infographic for a change champion network below.

change champion responsibilities

Change Management Infographic on Launching & Managing a Change Champions / Agents Network

Manage Change Champions & Agents in Less time Using the OCMS Portal Change Network Tool!

Our OCMS Portal Change Champion Tool provides you with a structured change champions & agents template that enables you to effortlessly capture and document information on all change champions.

Use the first few columns on the template to capture the first name, last name, and other details of the change champions and agents. It is also very important to identify the change management experience level of the change agents and champions.

Those individuals that have low and mid-level experience will require more coaching, handholding, and support than those with a high level of change management experience.

Change Champion Tool for Change Managers & Project Leads

Task management is an important part of launching and managing a change agents/champions network. You will have tasks related to engaging with each champion & agent that the change management team needs to track. You will also have tasks that you give the champions and agents.

What are tasks that one might give to a change champion/agent?

  • Waterfalling a change awareness communication to others in their department.
  • Filling out a survey related to noted resistance/support in their area of the company.
  • Attending an early training event and giving feedback to make the training process better when rolled out to other users.
  • Meeting with a specific resistant stakeholder to help alleviate their fears of the change project impact.

The OCMS Portal change champion/agent network management software has task tracking for both change team tasks and tasks that you assign to champions & agents.

Illustration – Change Champions Tool – Task Tracking

Complete OCM Checklist

The OCMS Portal Change Agents & Champions Tool includes a best-in-class champions database template, sample data, a 360-degree analytics view of your change champions network, and much more that you can leverage to simplify and optimize your change champion/agent management.

Illustration – Change Champions Tool – Analytics Dashboard Reports

Change Management Analytics

Real-time analytics give you an instant snapshot of your champions network progress.

OCMS-Portal-All-in-One OCM Toolkit

Getting Started with Your OCM Solution Change Champions Agents Network Tool

If you subscribe to OCMS Portal change management platform, you’ll immediately gain access to the change champions agents network template and matrix mapping tool, here’s how you get started!

Once you’ve subscribed, you’ll be automatically signed in and be taken to the Main Dashboard page of OCMS Portal. You can find your change champions agents network templates software in the Phase 1: Asses of the OCM framework.

OCM Solution five phases

Note that our software includes loads of free change management resources which contains free Intro Emails for Change Champions to use, Change Champions Strategic plan, as well as Awareness Communications, and much more.

OCMS Portal is a full-featured cloud platform to help you plan, manage, and execute a successful change project, end-to-end, whether this is your first change project or your one-hundredth. It’s equally suited for those new to change management and those who are very experienced change managers.

Click below for a tool that you can use to manage all aspects of your change champions network. Get started right away!

OCMS Champions Tool & Change Champion Network Template

Best Change Champions Tool – End-to-End

What is a Change Champion?

A change champion is an individual who is an advocate for, and a supporter of a business change. A change champion is often a part of a group that will be impacted by a change, and who is willing to engage their colleagues to increase awareness, acceptance, and adoption of the change. Change agents and change champions play a key role in transformational change because they can facilitate change at the individual level within their organizations.

What is a Change Champion Network?

A change champion network is a collection of individuals from groups that will be impacted by a change. A change champion network is a powerful part of any change strategy; it moves ownership of the change to the business units impacted by the change, which decreases end-user resistance, and increases stakeholder buy-in.

What is a Change Agent Network?

A change agent network is a network of change champions, as well as agents of change. Change agents are those professionals like change managers and project leads that are responsible for leading organizational change. A change agent network is slightly different from a change champion network.

How do You Define a Change Agent?

A change agent is any professional whose job function involves implementing change. A change agent includes a change management manager or a project lead.

Note: Content on OCM Solution's website is protected by copyright. Should you have any questions or comments regarding this OCM Solution page, please reach out to Ogbe Airiodion (Change Management Lead) or the OCM Solution Team today. OCM Solution was previously known as Airiodion Global Services (AGS).

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