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Ask a Trainer: How Can I Measure My Organization’s Change Initiatives?

Friday, October 23, 2020

In this week’s Ask a Trainer guest post, Erica Tetuan explains how to measure the ROI of a change initiative.

Dear Erica,

Over the last several months, change management is becoming a larger part of my job, given how much change my organization and industry are going through as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve read up on the various change management models and theories, but I’m having a hard time applying them to my work and determining the right things to focus on. What advice do you have for becoming a more effective change management professional?

That’s a great question. One thing that I wish I had paid more attention to or had more education on as a young practitioner is measurement. In the field of change management, sometimes people think of measurement as a nice-to-have, but that it’s not necessary. Yet in reality, knowing how to measure change is important.

There are a few aspects of change management that I think are important to measure:

  • How disruptive a change is going to be in the organization and therefore how risky is it to the organization.
  • How we quantify the impact of the change management activities.

I've gotten a lot better at measuring both of these aspects over time, especially when I use the framework of preventative, proactive, and responsive thinking. In the preventative phase, there are a lot of ways to assess a change initiative and say, “If we went live with this attribute of the change, it would have caused this type of resistance after go-live, and that type of resistance would have cost us X millions of dollars in lost productivity.” If you can quantify and measure the projected lost productivity, it's a great way to save money on a project by predicting what was going to be a problem and fixing it before going live. That's a cornerstone in helping change management professionals showcase their value within the organization.

The truth is that it's the people side of change that helps an organization achieve return on investment (ROI). We see leaders constantly putting their budgets into the technical implementation or the technical solution. But the truth is that if people don't use that solution, you're not getting any ROI. It's really important to balance how much money we’re putting into design and development versus how much money are we putting into people adopting the change. When we can measure that, we get a better seat at the table.


Learn more about change management from Erica Tetuan on the ATD Accidental Trainer podcast. Her episode will air on October 21, 2020.


If you have a question for Ask a Trainer, send it to [email protected]. You can find answers to previous questions by visiting the Ask a Trainer hub. Tim will be back next week to tackle a new question.

We welcome your comments and engagement on these posts. All posts are reviewed to ensure appropriateness based on ATD’s requirements for postings in our online communities.

Please note: Content shared in this column is provided by the author and may not reflect the perspectives of ATD.

About the Author

As change management practice lead for GP Strategies, Erica Tetuan provides thought leadership, introduces leading edge models, methods, experiences, and practices to ensure clients achieve their desired goals and outcomes.

Her focus in helping leaders realize change in their organization is to be as preventative as possible which means practicing change management with a lens of avoiding resistance from the start. This focus relies on the ability to be predictive and see around corners that others may be blind to, having difficult conversations, being provocative when boundaries need to be pushed, and asking people to pause and think about their thinking enabling the organization to talk about the uncomfortable things that may prevent them from achieving their goals.

Tetuan has 20 years of experience in influencing stakeholders and working collaboratively to motivate diverse groups of people to achieve common goals. She has developed change management methodologies, built internal change management practices, and led strategic organizational transformations. Client organizations range from the U.S. House of Representatives to Fortune 100 companies.

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To create alignment between training and change management, utilize an Impact Grid which measures the scope of the impact, the ability, and the measurement metrics - adoption, utilization, and proficiency. Creating training that demonstrates an impact on any of those areas is proof that training is moving the change initiative.
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