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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

Erica is an expert change management practitioner, change management thought leader, and accomplished leader and builder of internal and external change management practices. As Head of Enterprise Change Management Office at TIAA, she is responsible for reinvigorating and renewing change management for TIAA by maturing the function to an enterprise-wide capability.

Immediately prior to TIAA Erica was the founder of the Change Management and Organization Design practice at GP Strategies where she authored their models and methodologies and helped numerous clients strategically apply change management and build or mature their internal change practices.

Prior to GP Strategies, Erica transformed the change management function at Lowe’s Home Improvement by introducing new methodology, vastly improving results on initiative-based change, increasing individual and organizational competency around change, and transforming the way change was handled in the stores.

Erica’s early career included time in the public sector serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, lobbying for the telecommunications industry, and as an organizational effectiveness consultant to the federal government for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Department of Defense, and Health and Human Services.

Erica has a Master of Science in organizational development and knowledge management from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts in social science from Nazareth College of Rochester.

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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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