By Eloise Roberts

Change Management: The Business Case For It That Your Boss Can’t Overlook

Change management

Sometimes it’s not until businesses go to train people in new technology that they realise they are in over their heads. They’re met with employee resistance because let’s face it, humans are creatures of habit.

The mistake many organisations make is that they think change is all about the technology—if you build a new system, everybody in the organisation will happily use it, no questions asked. That’s fine if you’re happy for employees to begin using the latest technology effectively two years after it’s introduced.

But if you want people using the new tech to full effect on the go-live day, you need a strategy for how that’s going to happen.

Despite a recent Forbes Insights report revealing 95% of its executive respondents saying they face significant challenges creating a culture of change, organisational change management is still often overlooked in digital transformation projects.

Here are the essential reasons why change management is a must that you can forward on to your boss.

Change management and project management are not the same

A lot of the time people think project management and change management are the same things—but they’re two very different forms of management.

While project management is essential to initiating and executing project milestones, change management is about helping organisations manage all the changes that might occur from the impact of the project, such as employee resistance.

One of the most significant differences between the two is there are defined start and end dates for project management, where change management is more fluid. There are no end dates or defined milestones; a change management strategy evolves with the needs of the users, and there is constant assessment.

And when the post-go-live date comes around, and the project management team is onto their next job, change management is still there ensuring the people you want using your new technology are confident in doing so.

Because you can check all the project deliverable boxes, but without end user adoption, can you still classify it a digital transformation success?

Change management is not guesswork, there’s a science behind it

Like anything that involves emotion, it can take a significant amount of time to change people’s attitudes and behaviours. Organisational change isn’t easy, which is why you need dedicated change management professionals guiding you through the process.

Your marketing team may be skilled at broadcasting company messages and values, but do they know how to turn change critics into supporters?

As much as people think getting others to adapt to new systems, processes, and technology is common sense, it isn’t. Effective organisational change management is led by a unique methodology known as the Prosci ADKAR Model, that comes from real project leaders and teams reflecting on what worked, what didn’t, and what they would do differently on their next project.

Help your boss understand the science behind organisational change by breaking down the methodology for them. In essence, for effective change to happen you need to:

  • Build awareness of the need for change. Loop your end users in from the very beginning and communicate why this change is happening.
  • Create a desire to participate in the change. Make it clear what’s in it for the individual while keeping in mind everyone’s needs will be different.
  • Develop knowledge with formal and informal training.
  • Foster employees’ abilities to turn their knowledge into tangible actions in the real-world environment.
  • Continually reinforce what you want to achieve from the digital transformation to sustain the change. After all, it’s human nature to revert to old ways of working.

And if your boss is still not convinced, this last piece should get them over the line.

A digital transformation project will cost more down the line if they do nothing

If there are two words we know executives like to hear it’s ‘cost savings’. When an organisation is paying a lot of money for new licences and services, they want to be sure it’s money well spent. And, unfortunately for a lot of organisations, it’s not always a guarantee.

Make it clear to your leadership team that the cost of not having an effective organisational change management strategy can cost the business more in the long run.

For example, if people don’t know how to use a new system from the start properly, data will be incorrectly entered, reports will be skewed, and companies will have to spend more money years later to clean it up. In other words, you will have to start your implementation and systems training all over again.

The best digital transformations are the ones that last and change management is its guarantor. It’s a strategy there to help your employees understand why a digital transformation is happening and how their working days will be improved because of it.

As you see, transformation has little to do with technology and everything to do with people. Stay tuned for the second part of our change management series as we delve deeper into change and people.

Want to get your head around change management? Join us at our Simplus Sessions change management roundtable and network with change management experts.

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