Digital transformation projects typically entail significant operational changes. Whether it’s new business models, new business processes or new ways of doing business, these types of changes are never easy for organizations and their employees.
This all means that organizational change management is critical to the success of your digital transformation initiative. However, most executives and project teams don’t know how to effectively integrate organizational change management into their projects – assuming they understand what the term “organizational change management” means to begin with.
With this in mind, there are a number of “hacks” that executives can leverage to address the people side of their digital transformation or ERP implementation without investing too much time, money or focus. These hacks may not be shortcuts, but they are the low-hanging fruit that can typically deliver the most value without requiring a great deal of effort or cost. These are the areas that you will likely get the most return on investment.
Here are three hacks, in particular, that we’ve seen work very well with current and past clients:
1. Facilitate organizational change readiness assessments. It’s impossible to know how to best effectuate change without first understanding what cultural and people issues you’re up against. Conducting a brief online survey and series of isolated focus groups with key employees can provide a very good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of your current culture – and of the activities you need to do in order to migrate your organization from your current to future state. This is an extremely low-cost activity that delivers a great deal of value.
2. Conduct organizational change impact assessments. While it may be easier to focus on the future state of business processes, it is also important to understand how these processes will be different from the status quo. This enables the change management team to communicate to employees how exactly their jobs will change. For example, the employee that created that really sophisticated and insightful Excel spreadsheet ten years ago will want to know exactly how new technology is going to change that process. Only by conducting an organizational change impact assessment can your team understand how to effectively communicate changes to employees.
3. Customize your training materials to fit your business processes. Most ERP vendors have developed great training materials for their products, albeit generic ones. For example, I was once involved in an ERP implementation at a large beverage manufacturer. When it came time to train employees using the vendor’s canned materials, most examples and case studies used a laptop manufacturer as an example. This created a great deal of confusion with employees, failed to consider nuances unique to their company and industry, and wasn’t nearly as effective as it could have been. It is important that training materials be unique to your company, business processes and the specific ways that you have configured and customized the software.
Every digital transformation has time and resource constraints, but that is no reason to cut organizational change management from the mix – at least not if you want your initiative to be successful. These three hacks are three good places to start when developing your initial organizational change management plan. Learn more about our organizational change management methodology.