Making change stick through a digital solution

by HCA22 Oct 2012

The majority of surveys and studies over the last five years suggest an alarming 50-75% of organisations fail at implementing organisational change. With most organisations going through some form of change over the course of business, whether it affects only a few people or the entire company, a fundamental business challenge is working out how to successfully create and sustain meaningful change.

We believe the difficulty and cost of executing the ‘people engagement step’ of change - typically managed through traditional channels such as ongoing meetings or seminars - plays an important role in project failure. To prevent failures, Workstar works with organisations to create successful change through digital solutions. Here are some tips and processes we use before, during and after the change management process.

Before change

  • Invite people along. People feel overwhelmed by change when it's a surprise, they don't understand why it's happening or how it will impact them. By providing a digital solution that allows people to opt in to find out more information, people make a proactive decision to be involved. Typically, you will find the majority of people take up this offer and appreciate the ability to prepare for the change, stay informed, provide feedback and ask questions. Opening up the two-way conversation early will show change is being done with staff, rather than to them.
  • Care about what I care about. The cares, concerns and motivations of employees are often quite different from those driving the executive team that is sponsoring the change. By communicating the change, its impact and benefits in terms that align with people’s motivations they can more easily adopt the change.
  • Put a human face to change. Let me see how the change benefits real people, be they clients, suppliers, the community or employees. Share stories that allow these people to describe how the proposed changes will benefit them. This helps people see the purpose of the changes and the positive benefits to individuals, rather than simply to a larger corporation and its goals.
  • Change isn’t always bad. People often automatically assume change is negative. Help them see the genuinely positive returns that are possible through being involved in the change.

During change

  • My journey. Every person involved in the change will have a different journey. The change will affect them in different ways and there will be different behaviours and processes they will need to adopt. A digital solution allows the right messages, training, resources, and support to be delivered to the right person. This ensures they can concentrate on implementing their part of change rather than wading through reams of information trying to work out how it will impact them.
  • Provide the necessary skills for successful change. Support people in changing their behaviours or processes with the necessary skill development. Most importantly you need to develop those skills just in time as the employee is going to need them, not months before or after. Providing digital resources that can be used and accessed as the new activities and behaviours are being performed, significantly improves the effectiveness of the change.
  • Milestone recognition. When the company achieves a goal, which is the result of the new change, recognise it and share the success with all stakeholders. Through acknowledging how far you have come as a group, you will boost morale. This can be done seamlessly through a digital solution, where congratulatory messages can be shared with everyone.
  • Identify early champions. Get early adopters to share their experiences. By encouraging feedback, interviewing staff and posting their success stories online through videos or blogs, other people will be empowered to adopt change, and the laggards will be more inclined to join the journey. Sharing success stories after the change is also a superb way to celebrate people’s journeys.

After change

  • Strive for longevity. A common challenge for change management strategies is ensuring the longevity of the change. This is especially difficult in industries with high turnover rates. The key is to keep up the momentum and not assume that everyone understands how and why the change has occurred. Digital solutions provide a very cost effective resource for on-going support of change and inducting new employees into the changed processes and culture.

Whether an organisation’s aim is to achieve large-scale attitudinal or behavioural change, to equip people with new capabilities or to engage a diverse range of stakeholders, the key advantage of using a digital solution is it enables an organisation to customise its programs to gain buy-in from large communities, while ensuring targeted business outcomes are achieved. Workstar’s digital solutions help personalise the change experience and engage people by tapping into their motivations and creating an open dialogue, which takes them along the change journey.

– Martin Greenlees, CEO, Workstar