Change is about more than just a technical delivery; people are at the heart of every change initiative with a successful outcome weighted heavily towards employee engagement and a positive change experience. This is especially true when colleagues have no prior knowledge of the project teams, the change to be implemented or the impact on their current work.
If you’ve a project team who aren’t taking responsibility for anything more than technical delivery or a team who see their only objective as implementation of the solution, then the case study below will help you to understand why there’s so much more at stake, and how you can successfully manage your project to achieve all desired outcomes.
Let’s set the scene…
18 months ago, we were asked to support a historical roll out of a windows upgrade to approximately 10,000 employees globally that had not been accepted or adopted by over 50% of the organisation. The Project Team prioritised the technical delivery of migration applications and software, and co-ordinated new or upgraded laptops and machines.
Communications and training material was created, alongside a clear plan. On-site project teams were asked to provide colleagues with supporting information and critical details and provide handouts.
All sounds great so far right?
However, the Project Team paid little attention to what the employees needed or wanted to know. In discussions, they were defensive about whose role it was to manage the colleague experience and on-site project teams did not view supporting information as a priority. They repeatedly disputed their responsibility for this action and failed to deliver against the change plan.
Whilst the project team delivered a great technical solution and succeeded in hitting technical objectives, the colleague experience suffered. Feedback showed that colleagues were not satisfied with the change management journey. Their day-to-day work, including direct client management, had been impacted because they had not received the right information at the right time.
What we did…
We retrospectively went back and created an employee change journey that supported and involved colleagues. We established a core change team within the organisation with key resource located in key sites across the globe. We carried out a change assessment detailing the impact and readiness of teams and developed a tailored change plan for each site. And we monitored the change through a network of change agents, key stakeholders and via a feedback survey; amending communications and training as necessary.
We supported the team in the development of Intranet articles, top-down emails and all-hands calls to provide ongoing updates and success stories to the whole organisation. Alongside this, we designed tailored emails advising of actions each employee needed to take and created both face to face and online training modules providing employees with the new capability and skills required to use new systems and application. This was all brought together under an intranet site and branded to create instant recognition.
By stepping in when we did, we ensured all business areas were brought into the change and were happy to be upgraded onto the new system. We saw 91% of employees upgrading when their upgrade was scheduled – with a few delayed due to holidays, sickness or parental leave.
However, the key point here is that whilst many organisations recruit permanent or interim change managers to deliver these activities, it doesn’t change the most important factor of business change projects:
Within the project team it is everyone’s responsibility to manage the change experience in a positive way.
If the organisation and the project team had taken earlier responsibility for the change experience, they would not have needed our intervention. The easiest question to use as a prompt at every stage of the project, regardless of your role:
What are we doing to support our people through this change?
If the project means that someone needs to do their job differently, then you must ask how you can help them do that.
Having good relationships with stakeholders who understand the ‘why’ of the change project means that they are more inclined to shape, support and implement the change – which of course leads you to a more successful project outcome.
If you are interested in developing a more positive change experience for your people book a call with me here and let’s get the ball rolling.
Becky Strafford is the Director of the Business Change Collective with over 20 years’ experience delivering the people side of change for some of the world’s leading organisations. With a deep understanding of how people see and react to change, Becky is passionate about putting people at the heart of change to ensure they readily accept and adapt to new ways of working.