Digital transformation requires not just the adoption of digital tools, but a complete change of mindset throughout the organization. Employees need to approach problems differently, communicate and collaborate differently, and measure success differently. Ultimately, an organization’s operations, revenue model, and organizational structure will change. And to add to the complexity, digital transformation will look different for every organization. Consequently, change management models are becoming an increasingly popular tool. They can help navigate and indeed drive the success of digital transformation projects.
Change management efforts are some of the most complicated projects to deploy. So much of the success of the project is based on a series of seemingly intangible drivers. The Harvard Business Review has diagnosed this as a lack of data because most change efforts are more of an art than science. The second issue directly related to the lack of data is weariness to change. Without a well-planned and clearly communicated change management plan, organizations often encounter change fatigue. Change fatigue occurs when an organization’s employees cease to embrace the change and even begin to resist it. They no longer see the change as being beneficial, often because they see that the attempts at change have not come to fruition. They tire of constant change without any noticeable improvement. Without active employee involvement, complete digital transformation becomes far more difficult.
Measuring employee cultural elements offers consultants a tremendous opportunity to bring data to the equation and manage change weariness. Change management has always been a significant part of the consulting industry. The focus on digital transformation only increases the opportunity.
Digitizing Change Management Models
But in order to drive successful change, consultants must undergo digital transformation themselves. They must digitize their change management models so that they track, measure, and manage the issues identified during the change process. The multi-year change management strategies of the past are no longer realistic options for many organizations. Moreover, employees already plagued by change fatigue will be unlikely to support them. Digitizing change management models involves moving the models to a digital platform. There, data can remain alive. It continually updates as it collates and remains visible to anyone with the right access to the platform.
5 Ways To Improve Change Management Models
A digital change management model or assessment presents an opportunity to collect feedback in real-time. Company communications, acquisitions, or earnings results can still be fresh in the minds of employees. The right questions at the right time can produce ideas for improving communication, pinpoint areas of uncertainty, and identify employee concerns so that you can head off problem areas. Measuring while the issue is top of mind will also improve response rates. Employees are more likely to respond while the pain or question is fresh in their mind. Real-time analytics allow consultants an immediate way to provide value. They can make corrections and demonstrate improvement without waiting until a project is complete.
Perhaps the primary reason that change fatigue occurs is that employees see no return for the effort they have put in to help make the change happen. Part of the reason for this lack of return may be poor change efforts. But too often the reason is simply a lack of communication about progress or lack of data to demonstrate success. Showing employees the actual data of how their efforts to change are working or not working will encourage employees to continue to embrace change, even when it is difficult. It’s helpful to establish a baseline early in the change management process. Then you can continually assess and measure progress along the way, communicating back to employees each time.
Give Employees A Voice
By giving employees a regular voice in the change management process, you will empower them. They can help make changes and ensure that the process is successful. Some companies are even crowd-sourcing management decisions to provide that voice. By seeking regular feedback from your employees and demonstrating how you are acting on that feedback, you will overcome a major cultural hurdle to change:employee buy-in.
Now that you’ve given your employees a voice, how do you measure how engaged they are in the change management models you’ve created? We’ve outlined some creative ways to assess training, communication, and volunteerism to measure that engagement. Employees actively seeking more communication and liberally offering to volunteer to help make that change are an excellent proxy for engagement. Volunteerism is something you can incorporate easily into existing assessments without creating survey fatigue. An important note:sound segmentation will help you identify business units, functions, geographies, or even leadership levels where there could be trouble spots. Take the upfront time to ensure your analysis includes job level, function, location, and even tenure. If you know that a certain population is likely to be more disrupted by your transformation, plan for that and keep tabs on that group.
Having a clear end-goal for digital transformation as well as clear steps to success will help the entire organization understand how the transformation is progressing. Consultants should use the data they collect from every part of an organization to benchmark, informing progress every step of the way. Moreover, they should be sure to communicate progress clearly and frequently to the entire organization. Use pulse assessments and your strong segmentation to target specific groups for intel. With a software platform like 9Lenses, consultants can easily re-assess large populations or targeted segments with a touch of the button while sustaining operating margins and using human resources effectively.
Without digitization, change management will not have the data needed to guide you to success and is likely to result in change fatigue. With digitization, consultants can use the data they collect to make digital transformation successful.