Change Manager’s Guide:
From Job Description to Hiring Tips

If you’re reading this, congratulations!
You’ve taken the first steps to a successful transformation.

If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps to a successful transformation.

“Wait, what?” Yes – just by realizing that your big-ticket transformation might deserve the support of a dedicated change manager, you’re already two leaps ahead of your counterparts in other organizations.

The people side of change is a notoriously underestimated field. And what happens when you introduce a change without steering its responses? It falls flat. People become resistant or they simply don’t adopt the desired behavior.

It’s no surprise that 2 out of 3 transformations fail. But did you know that projects with excellent change management are 6x more likely to succeed?

With 20 years of experience in the field of change management, this is something we – at SPRING TODAY – have experienced time and time again. A good change manager makes all the difference.

So let’s dive in, shall we? 👇🏼

A change manager is responsible for managing the people side of change by overseeing the entire spectrum of change activities.

This involves identifying the need for change, designing the transformation, setting up processes, managing stakeholders, executing the change, and monitoring the responses.

Change managers are the driving force behind organizational evolution. On this page, you will gain valuable insights about the role of a change manager, including:

Ready to embark on this transformative journey
to uncover the critical role of a change manager?

Change manager job description

Is your organization undergoing a big transformation regarding its structure, processes, culture, or technology? A change or transformation manager is often hired to implement the desired change. Sounds easy enough, right?

But let me ask you, what does a “successful” transformation mean? If 50% of employees adopt the change, is it successful? If your colleagues are excited about a new system, but they are using it the wrong way, did you – in fact – achieve your goal?

An experienced change manager will know which steps to take to make sure the change is not only implemented, but also adopted by the workforce.

This is called the ‘people side of change’, because your main objective is getting people on board with the transformation.

This is a generalist role, as a wide array of competencies are needed to be successful. On Monday, you might need to wear your analytical hat to create a detailed impact analysis. While on Tuesday, you are encouraging the board to act as role models for the new way of working.

But a change manager is also a specialist, as the job requires deep knowledge of change management models  and the ability to apply them.

The underneath aspects for successful change shows what elements the change management job description is comprised of:


  • Case for Change: Why do we need to change?
  • Future State: What does the future look like?
  • Readiness for Change: How prepared are we?
  • Change Leadership: How will we lead change?
  • Stakeholder and Resistance Management: Who will be impacted?
  • Communications: How will we engage people?
  • Training and People Development: How will we develop people?
  • Business Alignment: How will we align with the business?
  • Culture: How will we embed change?
  • Monitoring Change and Knowledge Management

To make it even more complex, your job description will depend heavily on the organization and its unique change challenge. Most change projects have one or two components that require extra attention.

Take for example an organizational restructuring, which is essentially getting rid of 500 jobs. This is a very sensitive type of transformation, as it directly impacts people’s livelihoods. So you better make sure you can explain – in both simple and difficult terms – why this change is needed. And you need to be able to communicate it. 

In a digital transformation, the emphasis may be much more on the readiness for change. You’ll want to make sure that your technical landscape allows for an easy transition. And set up a training programme so people know how to work with the new systems. 

Two transformations, yet they call for a very different approach!

Ultimately, the success of a change management expert lies in their ability to navigate complexity, influence and engage people, and drive sustainable change. By understanding the multifaceted nature of the role and continuously honing their skills, change managers can become invaluable assets in leading organizations through transformational journeys.

Three types of change agents

A change manager doesn’t work in isolation, but is part of a team of change agents. Generally, the three roles that are needed are: the change manager, project manager, and change leader.

In small companies, these roles usually reside in one or two people. In larger organizations, it is recommended to separate them to give each component sufficient space in your transformation.

So, let’s look at the distinctions between these seemingly similar roles.

Project Management Institute defines project management as “the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people.” In other words, The project manager makes sure that the transformation is delivered, On Time In Full.

In the example of the digital transformation, the project manager is responsible for getting the new system in place.

The change manager takes care of the people side: getting the workforce to understand what’s happening and adopt the new system.

As you can imagine, these two roles have to work very closely together, to avoid any unnecessary noise.

Last but not least, there is one (or multiple) change leaders. This could be any person with a leading position, like a team lead or a business unit director.

The change leader acts as the “owner” of the transformation from within the organization. They are responsible for getting the purpose and message across, championing the transformation, rallying people behind it, and role modeling the desired behaviors.

Change managers provide support to the change leaders, enabling them to effectively fulfill their role within the organization and throughout the transformation process.

Why is a change leader so important?

Everyone who’s been in a business environment for over 2 years, can recall a specific instance when management wanted us to behave a certain way. Then, they turned and did the complete opposite.

This compromises everything you are trying to achieve. So, having a leader that acts as the driving force behind the transformation AND is able to walk the talk, is absolutely invaluable.

Roles and responsibilities

To get a better understanding of the role of a change manager,
let’s take a look at an actual vacancy text that we’ve written in the past for a senior change lead.


  • You have a Bachelor’s or Master’s education in change management or communication or another related education such as organizational psychology, business administration, etc.
  • You have at least 5 years of demonstrable relevant work experience in the field of change management and communication in a multinational environment.
  • You have knowledge and experience working with the most common Change Management theories (e.g. Prosci/ADKAR, Six Batteries of Change, Kotter, de Caluwe, Graves, Hofstede etc.)
  • You have experience with setting up and executing change roadmaps to manage the change curve. E.g. conducting the most common analyses, setting up the storyline, making and executing on communication plans, planning and facilitating workshops, training and coaching, managing stakeholders, and other necessary (behavioral) interventions.

Personal Skills

  • You are a real team player who likes to collaborate with people across the organization.
  • Excellent relationship-building abilities, to manage stakeholders across different levels of the organization and establish important connections.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills (constructive feedback, mirroring, inspiring, listening, asking the right questions, stimulating learning, and motivating).
  • Knowing what to do to handle resistance and exert influence without formal authority.
  • Pro-active: takes initiative to achieve positive outcomes and enhance business performance.
  • Well-structured and creative.
  • Drive, enthusiasm, and persistence.
  • Capable of simplifying complex problems and finding practical solutions.
  • Fluent in both written and spoken English and experienced in working with diverse teams.

A broad range of skills to look out for! Which begs the question:
How do we hire a change manager?

Hiring a change manager

What should you be looking for when hiring a change manager?

Given the high stakes involved with big transformations, it is crucial to find the right person for the job. Someone who:

  • N Has experience in a similar organization and/or project scope;
  • N Is a personal fit for the team and organization;
  • NIs equipped with the necessary change management tools (e.g. Kotter, Lewin, ADKAR/Prosci);
  • NCan leverage these tools to successfully structure and carry out the change initiative;
  • NHas the interpersonal skills to navigate a complex environment with different sets of stakeholders.

But if we’re being honest, the crux of the matter is not in selecting the right person. It is in getting the right person to the table.

Yes – there are probably thousands of change experts out there. However, there is a very select group of people that has actual hands-on experience managing transformations in big and complex environments, such as Top 100 organizations.

There is no amount of books you can read to match this type of experience.

And these are not the type of people who scour the internet for vacancies. Because their next job is already lined up.

So how do you catch one of these change unicorns?​

You can search on LinkedIn or ask your network if they have experience with good Change Managers. You can also ask your HR department to support you in this endeavor.

Additionally, the role is often challenging to comprehend for individuals who have not previously experienced transformation processes themselves. And so it’s perfectly understandable if recruiters or resource managers struggle to identify the right profiles. Even if you know what to look for, it remains difficult to distinguish truly exceptional change experts.

To do so, you need to thoroughly read their CVs and have a strong sense of the field and the scale and impact of the transformations they have been involved in.

Yes – this requires actually diving into past projects they have been involved with.

Yes – it’s even better if you can talk to people who can give you inside information on these projects.

And yes – this is a lot of work.

Luckily, there is an easier way to get the top change experts on your shortlist: through an intermediary. At SPRING TODAY, we are in close contact with the leading change and transformation managers in the field.

We know who they are, what assignment they’re currently on, and who will likely become available in the next couple of months. So we can give them a call before they re-enter the job market.

Additionally, we have 20 years of experience in change management for leading organizations. All we need is a short conversation to know exactly what type of transformation manager would best match your organization and specific change challenge. 

Interim change manager or fixed position?

There are two ways to hire a change manager. Your first thought will most likely be to create a fixed position in your company and recruit accordingly. However, in some cases it might be wise to consider hiring an interim change manager instead. 

In order to make the right decision, it’s crucial to consider your organization’s specific needs and aspirations, and what kind of change expertise you need to attain.

For example, many organizations opt for a combination of both approaches: anchoring their in-house change capability with a fixed position and bringing in expertise and fresh perspective with an interim professional.

Or maybe you want to hire the expertise of an interim change expert to set up the basic structure for building in-house change capability, before recruiting the right (permanent) change manager to take over.

Let’s see how both options match your situation:

Fixed position

  • A long-term commitment for ongoing change initiatives
  • This gives the change manager deep organizational knowledge, coming from the opportunity to build strong relationships within the organization
  • Organizations can seek individuals who align well with the company’s culture and long-term strategic goals, contributing to a smoother change implementation
  • And allow this person to further develop their skill

Interim change manager

  • A flexible and specialized expert for a specific period or project
  • For initiatives that require immediate attention or are politically sensitive
  • Brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, and an objective and fresh perspective
  • This person can be brought in relatively quickly, with potentially lower costs compared to a fixed position
  • And is able to quickly adapt to new environments

When in doubt about the best course of action, make sure to reach out so we can consult you based on your specific situation. 

Change manager vacancies

 At SPRING TODAY, we are currently hiring for a couple of leading organizations. These are high-profile jobs and assignments, which can serve as a springboard for your career. Are you ready to take the next step?

Change manager vacancies

At SPRING TODAY, we are currently hiring for a couple of leading organizations. These are high-profile jobs and assignments, which can serve as a springboard for your career. Are you ready to take the next step?

Change manager vacancies

At SPRING TODAY, we are currently hiring for a couple of leading organizations. These are high-profile jobs and assignments, which can serve as a springboard for your career. Are you ready to take the next step?