Part 3 of a 3-part blog series focusing on creating an effective enterprise change management strategy and implementation plan, inspiring user adoption, and improving ROI.
When viewed from the top-level perspective of a CXO, change management is typically considered a success when its parent project, for lack of a better term, “does the thing it’s supposed to do.” Are our files successfully migrated to the cloud? Applause all around! Did our tools make a flawless switch from analog to digital? Most impressive! Did we finish on time and under budget? A round of drinks on me!
But change management outcomes aren’t rooted in the project, the data, the tools, or even in the organization. The true source of lasting and effective transformation is actually the employees. The long-term success of the project hinges on whether they can break their old habits and forge new ones. If they fail, then in time, the project gains will too. Necessity is the mother of invention, and if users feel their needs are unmet, they will find ways to go back to their old habits or go rogue with another solution.
In my last blog post, I spoke to the astronomical costs to organizations that underestimate the value of user-centric design. Here, I’d like to uncover three more key benefits of the user-centric approach that don’t always get the fame they deserve.
Designing innovative tools around employees to ensure their productivity
Change starts when organizations realize that they can’t continue to do business “as is.” They may recognize the need to modernize their operations in order to fill a gap, remain competitive, or achieve a strategic objective. But once employees grasp that the pains of the status quo are greater than the pains of change, then the desire to change becomes clear and urgent.
No one feels the pains of the status quo more than employees. Could you imagine your finance team having to track millions of dollars with the 21st century version of an abacus? Would you ask your creative team to develop marketing assets with just a chisel and a stone tablet? Giving employees the right tools for the job increases their engagement, and companies with happier employees perform 20% better compared to disengaged workers.
In addition, McGregor’s “Theory Y” of workforce performance stipulates that employees enjoy their work, are inspired by challenge, and relish the opportunity to better themselves. I find this especially true of Millennials, who seem to prefer less supervision, more self-serve resources, and more self-direction to produce better results. Whether you ascribe to this theory or not, we can all agree that this type of employee hits the trifecta: a performer, an influencer, and a future leader. All you need to motivate them is provide them the right tools and work environment, an opportunity for contribution or recognition, and then get the heck out of their way.
Boosts to productivity, collaboration, and communication save thousands of hours
Another value proposition for user-centric change management is how it improves collaboration. Often times, different departments are siloed and inter-team operations slow down. This may hold even more true for global companies that are separated by time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences. Further, the tools and processes used in one office may be vastly different from another.
Change management unites employees by addressing their painful experiences and aligning success around relevant and accessible scenarios. Line managers want to run more effective meetings with remote workers. The IT squad spends hours crunching spreadsheets; they want access to the same data the finance and HR teams have. Sales and marketing want to be on the same page with materials, even if they’re separated by thousands of miles.
Uncovering and analyzing collective needs at the team level can lead to prescriptions for cloud tools, identify best practices, and create an environment where excellence can be modelled, shared, and learned. Following a change management campaign, executives can expect increased customer service and more effective client service, all resulting in bottom line growth.
Albert Einstein said the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Well, if a company delivers a successful change management initiative, then wouldn’t repeating that change process for future projects make them crazy like a fox?
Three key components of good change management include investment from divisional stakeholders led by executive sponsorship, a corps of local champions, and regular productivity training for employees (such as weekly Lunch & Learns or a monthly Webinar). During cloud projects, these assets work to influence and empower employees to adopt new habits, but they also found a structure for organizational effectiveness into the future. Once these three factors are organized to deliver an initial change management win, then the company can lean on this blueprint for other strategies.
- Stakeholders and sponsors can form a steering committee and meet quarterly to assess progress and make decisions of strategic objectives.
- Local champions can be assembled as low-level leadership to tackle special projects and fulfill succession plans.
- A cadence of regular training, once established, sets an expectation for employees to sharpen the saw and gives champions or leadership the platform to launch new initiatives.
Change management provides numerous operational benefits to companies, but a closer analysis reveals three key benefits. Employees are more engaged because they have better tools for the job, aligning relevant scenarios leads to a more productive organization, and an established change management framework sets the tone for future success and increased revenue.
Learn more best practices for executing a winning change management initiative by checking out this on-demand webinar session – “Your Guide to Designing a Successful Change Management Strategy for the Cloud”.
As Practice Lead for Change Management and Organizational Effectiveness
at SADA System, Jason enables enterprise organizations to effectively manage
change as they implement cloud solutions and tools.