In the past, the big eats the small. Today, the fast eats the slow. (Photo Credits: NatGeoTV)
Fundamentally, better business performance comes from an organisation being able to run at lower cost (use resources more efficiently) and/or generate more gross sales (provide more perceived benefit (or value) to customers in services/products). Technological progress has reached a new stage and new technologies are enabling more efficient and effective ways to run businesses. Over the past five years, companies across almost all sectors have been forced to rethink their business models to avoid disruption by the emergence of new competitors. Just take Netflix and Blockbuster for example.
In present times, many large organisations in developed economies are in a race to give up their legacy operations and "transform digitally" - installing emerging technologies and assimilating them into the company's processes in hopes of delivering more value to customers and gain certain competitive advantage. Some are also investing in start-ups and/or collaborating with disruptors to develop new growth pathways. Unfortunately, not all of these technological investments deliver the intended outcomes and returns; in fact, few do.
Many companies pour enormous amounts of capital investments on technology to improve the customer experience but neglect employees who are responsible for delivering that experience. Ironically, although there is a lot of buzz around embracing innovation and collaborative culture, many executives and managers continue to work with a top-down approach, which limits ideation and decision-making to a small group of like-minded individuals (aka groupthink). The effects of groupthink lead to a narrow focus on the benefits of implementing the technology without adequate consideration for other important touch points such as business processes, corporate culture and people competencies, effectively turning the people side of change into a blind spot.
Technological installation does not equate technological progress within the firm. Although seemingly obvious, many leaders fail to notice before it's too late that the installation of a new system or equipment does not guarantee the production of knowledge and proficiency that will enable the desired capabilities to yield better business performance. Most of the time, impacted employees only hear about the impending changes through misrepresented rumours instead of well-crafted formal communications. Consequently, productivity falls; active and passive resistance plagues the entire project lifecycle; at 'go-live', the implementation falls flat on the sponsors' faces.
If the end users are not prepared systematically through a structured change management process, how can they adopt and use the technology proficiently to deliver the added value to the intended customers? Consequently, how can the organisation reap the benefits and ROI of the installed technologies?
In Prosci®'s latest 2018 Best Practices on Change Management Benchmarking Report, their topical study on Employee Engagement found a positive relationship between applying good change management practices and impact on employee engagement. These are some of the research findings from their latest report:
- 70% of their 2017 respondents reported that applying change management had a positive impact on employee engagement.
- Employee engagement has been a top contributor to a successful change management initiative for 20 years.
- Participants who reported having more mature change management practices also reported having more engaged employees.
- Participants with more engaged employees exceeded their project objectives more often than those with lower levels of employee engagement.
Aside from delivering the project on time and on budget and achieving the desired ROI, there are also intangible benefits of applying change management and engaging your employees like customers.
1. Better Customer Experience
The customer experience starts with your employees. Keeping them happy and satisfied prevents disengaged and deviant behaviours (e.g. complaining to the customers about the company) that drive down productivity and sales.
2. You'll have better insight of the change.
Many companies spent a lot of effort, time and money checking in frequently with their customers with the biggest accounts. In fact, they should do the same with impacted employees during any change as well.
Frequent check-ins with employees allow leaders and managers to know how they feel about their role, the company, and their products and services. It acts as a preventative measure to pay attention to red flags, identify problems and deal with them before it gets out of hand. Frequent engagement with employees also uncovers bigger issues occurring in the organisation such as inefficient processes, obsolete systems and perhaps even undesirable practices rooted in the corporate culture.
3. You'll get buy-in.
Just as a company needs to prove the value of its products/services to its clients in order to gain their trust, the same applies for employees. It is vital to show appreciation and respect for the hours, efforts and sacrifice they have invested into helping the company grow. Once employees trust their line managers and leadership team, they will desire to become better and produce more.
4. Increased Employee Intrinsic Goodwill
Every company faces difficult and unforeseen challenges at multiple points in time. When that happens, employees have two options. The easier choice to make is to leave the organisation in search of greener pastures. The second is to stay and make sacrifices to assume additional responsibilities and endure through the tough times with the company. Companies with better engaged employees often choose the latter, increasing the company's altruistic capital. Much like strong branding and sound repute, a united workforce held together by a common sense of identity and belonging to the cause and mission of the company goes beyond any measure of financial valuation.
An engaged and change-ready workforce is the hallmark of every successful company; it allows the organisation to be agile and resilient enough to adapt quickly to meet new business demands.
Change management strategies and activities serve to prepare and equip the people of an organisation to transit through changes of varying scale and complexities. Excellent change management practices lead to better employees' engagement which ultimately translates to a more resilient and adaptive workforce.
Are you interested to improve employee engagement or change management practices within your firm?
Learn the Prosci Change Management Methodology now!
Everyone is going to be increasingly impacted by technological disruptions in today's digital age. In our training experience, we have imparted Prosci® Change Management methodology to professionals from all sectors: government or private, profit or non-profit. Regardless of your role, you are likely to be involved in a project at some point in time. We have training programmes and workshops tailored for specific roles such as project managers, senior managers in leadership teams, and experienced change management professionals. We recommend all to start with our introductory three day Prosci® Change Management Practitioner Certification programme where you will learn to improve your change definition, make assessments and conduct analysis of your change, as well as design plans to manage and implement your change.
The Prosci® methodology is evidenced based and comes with holistic and practical change management toolkit for you to apply to your project. On completion you will be certified by Prosci as a practitioner, giving you confidence in your change management approach. Find out more about the full curriculum of the Prosci Change Management Practitioner Certification course from CMC and register today.