What is ADKAR MODEL? | Pros and Cons of the ADKAR Model

What is ADKAR MODEL? | Pros and Cons of the ADKAR Model

In today's competitive world your organization needs to constantly evolve and adapt to the rapidly changing environment. If you don't change on time your organization will come to an end. Although, change is a very complicated process.

No matter how good the change might be for you or your organization it is very difficult to adapt to new things. This is because our brains are hardwired to look for familiar and easy things.

So, how do you change? The ADKAR model provides you with 5 steps that make change a reality. Read this article till the end to know what the ADKAR model is and how you can use it.

What is the ADKAR Model?
Pros of the ADKAR Model
Cons of the ADKAR Model

What is the ADKAR Model?

The ADKAR model was developed by author Jeff Hiatt, after analyzing the change patterns of more than 700 organizations. The model provides a 5 step framework that one needs to follow to make change possible. After a point of time, change becomes necessary for the growth of the organization to help evolve and stay in the competition. You can even use the ADKAR model at an individual level too.

This framework can be followed in any sequence, although it is highly recommended to follow the ADKAR model in the sequence given below.

The ADKAR Model
The ADKAR Model
  • A: Awareness
  • D: Desire
  • K: Knowledge
  • A: Ability
  • R: Reinforcement


In the first stage, you need to make sure that your employees are aware of the exact reason why they need to change. This step is very crucial because change is a complicated process.

Sometimes, we are habituated to doing things in a certain way that even if someone comes up with a more efficient way to do that work we don't take the initiative to change. This is why telling your employees the benefits of change is very important. Don't keep the conversation one-directional. Ask them questions and build trust.

Share real-life examples and tell different stories to help your employees understand the need for change. Don't complicate things and break down all the steps in an easy-to-understand manner. Remember, you don't want to scare your employees, rather encourage them to take the right steps for change.

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Understanding the need for change and having the desire to take the right steps to change are two different things. This is a very tricky phase because you cannot easily understand what others are feeling.

If there is no desire, your decision for change might not go well with your employees and that may proceed to make things worse. That is why healthy company culture is required to excel. So, the desire for change is very necessary to achieve the wanted results.

To foster desire tell your employees how the change will make their work easier or why they should be concerned about the change. For example, don't tell your employees that they must use the new software launched by your company for sales and marketing. Instead, make them understand how easy it would be for the sales and marketing team to monitor reports and send details to different teams using the new software.

Tell your employees that they would be able to manage more tasks in less time which would lead to more returns for the company and ultimately more salary for them. In this way, your employees will get the desire to learn and use the new software.

Understand which things are creating resistance in the way of change. Do your employees fear that they don't have the right skills to make the change happen? Are your employers finding the roadmap to change difficult? Find the root cause for resistance and give the required solutions to your employees.


In this phase, you tell your employees what responsibilities, skills, and tools they need to have in order to change. Give them clear guidance, break down the training part in detail and make sure your employees know what steps they need to take during the journey

Don't give your team generic training or steps, rather be specific. For example, if you want your employees to use the new software you need to give individual tasks to different teams. This means that you need to provide in-depth training to the sales and marketing team on how they should use the software. While other teams would only be concerned about how they can download and share reports.

Remember too much change may demotivate your employees. Break down the change journey into small steps. Teach your employees using different mediums like PPTs, videos, interactive games, blogs, or a self-paced course.


In this stage, you are asking the question: Is the desired change achieved? Basically, you are applying what you have learned in the previous stages. You are demonstrating a change in reality.

So, if we take the example of newly launched software again we are now testing how your employers are using the software for sales and marketing. Are your employers able to upload data and analyze it? Can your employees make reports and send them to other teammates? Now, how can we measure change?

Here, are three effective ways to measure change effectively:

Speed of Adoption

Here, you measure how quickly your employees adapt to the change. For example, how much time are your employers taking to learn the functionalities of the new software?

Ultimate Utilisation

How much of the change has been adopted by the employees? Coming back to the previous example, you can check how many things your employees can do with the new software.


How well the person is performing the change? Basically, you are checking how efficiently your employers are using the new software. Can your employees manage multiple tasks and boost their productivity using the software?

Although these are not hard and fast ways to measure change. You need to find the measures according to your change. To enhance ability, provide practical training, and monitor the performances. Allow your teams to test out their skills.


Implementing a change for a few days doesn't mean that your employees would continue following the new pattern.

That's why you need to continuously train your employees until the change becomes a habit. Evaluate the results of the change and if the results are positive celebrate the success. Correct mistakes if your employees fall back to the old habits.

On the other hand, if your employees are adopting the change efficiently, praise them publicly. This would encourage other employees to adapt to the change. Take feedback and try to find the pain points. You might even want to consider providing more training to your employees if needed.

Pros of the ADKAR Model

  • The ADKAR model can be used both in small and big companies. It can also be used on an individual level.
  • The model focuses on people's needs and behavioural patterns.
  • At the same time, the model provides a practical approach that can be applied immediately.

Cons of the ADKAR Model

  • Since the model is ready-made and can be applied instantly it doesn't provide you with micro-level details. You are not able to get a deeper knowledge about change.
  • If you want a more complex change management system that is targeted to your organizational culture then the ADKAR model may not be suitable for you.

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As you can see if you use the ADKAR model effectively you will see a change in your employees. Although it is not mandatory to use only this change model. You can use other models as well according to your needs and organizational culture.

You might even want to combine other models with the ADKAR model to build an effective change system for your organization. Remember, first you need to tell your employees why are the changes being implemented. Tell them the exact reason without complicating things.

Then to build desire tell the benefits of the change. Find what is stopping your employers to make the change and address it with some effective solutions. Once you build desire in your employees define what skills, responsibilities, and steps they need to take in order to make the change possible. Make a roadmap and break down all the steps into small tasks.

In the ability stage, you check how much your employees have changed. Measure the change, find pain points, provide solutions, take feedback and repeat the cycle.

In the end, you will analyze how much change has been adapted. Praise your employers publicly if they have efficiently adapted to the change and provide training to the ones who are finding the change difficult.


Who Developed the ADKAR Model?

Jeff Hiatt, founder of Prosci developed the ADKAR model after analyzing the change patterns of more than 700 organizations.

How Does ADKAR Change Model Work?

Awareness and desire build the mindset for change. During the first two stages, you understand the reason and need for change. Knowledge provides you with a clear roadmap on how you change. In the fourth stage, you understand how much you have changed and what you can do to further improve. In the reinforcement stage, you take all the efforts to make the change a habit.

Which of the Five ADKAR Steps Do You Think Would be Most Challenging?

Building a desire for change is very difficult since most of us don't want to change. This is because our brains are hardwired to look for familiar and easy things.

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