What’s the one trait every business needs to stay competitive in today’s complex and fast-paced market? The ability to be light on its feet. At the heart of agility lies technology, but as technology itself rapidly innovates, organizations seeking the most up-to-date tools have to consider the change management process so that employees can adapt to, and benefit from new collaborative ways of working
Raconteur and Google for Work surveyed 300 C-suite leaders, from companies of all sizes across 11 countries, to find out how receptive organizations are to change, how they handle change management, and how effective those tactics have been so far. The participants represented companies from retail, media, manufacturing, professional and financial services, and pharmaceuticals.
Here are a few of the discoveries from this survey.
Return on investment
Overall, change management programs give a 120% positive return on investment, and that rises to 135% if an excellent and sophisticated change management program is in place. Karen Frank of PwC, who led the change management team when the firm transitioned to Google Apps, notes, “Often, change management is an afterthought. But involving change management professionals in the decision-making process is essential… So much of effective change management is being proactive and laying the groundwork early on.”
Leading by example
Communication must come from the top, since executives and senior leaders are the biggest influencers of how employees adapt to change. It’s important for the leadership team to be enthusiastic and hands-on, and to lead by example. When it comes to increasing employee engagement, 45% of respondents listed increased levels of executive buy-in as the most helpful factor.
The best change management programs have a comprehensive communications plan that includes a clear and inspiring vision for change. The ways that companies communicate their change management vision have varying levels of impact, with email at the very top, followed by video conferencing and team meetings. But unexpected ways of communicating change can sometimes grab the attention of users. When Globe Telecom’s flash mob danced to an original song they wrote about Google, it proved to be their most memorable communication piece.
One of the most common reasons that people resist change is because they’re afraid of not being successful with the new tools. Giving them the tools to succeed makes all the difference, which is why training is essential to the success of a project, from self-paced online resources to instructor-led, hands-on training sessions. A critical influencer of success is the number of people that attend training as part of a change program. According to survey respondents, the most successful projects had a significantly higher percentage (40%) of their employees attend training than less successful change programs (less than 20%).
Once the hype of the initial launch is over, there must be processes in place to keep embedding new ways of working into business as usual. Surveyed companies with an excellent change management program in place rated their sustained cost reduction 33% higher than those without an ongoing program of support for their employees.
Getting people to understand the value of the change is essential to achieving ROI.
The better the change management program, the bigger the return on investment. Change management programs take some time and investment up front, but by helping increase collaboration, efficiency, and adoption, they ultimately decrease cost and additionally significantly increase employee engagement.