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How People Analytics Improve Organizational Change

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
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It’s no secret that nearly every work environment is becoming more digital. According to a recent Gartner survey, more than half of functional leaders believe the digital talent gap is widening. But often, these same leaders fail to consider the people-related change risks that account for some of the biggest reasons why organizational changes fail (most studies put it between 60 and 70 percent). If you pay close attention to the change management process by directly collecting input from people affected, you can avoid losing millions on missed deadlines, underused or unused systems, and missed opportunities to engage team members.

Business leaders are recognizing that there are new sources of growth based on leveraging the vast amounts of data on work and their workforce. The key is the ability to use technology and insightful analytics to get the most out of the workforce. This is done when leaders involve their people in the design and co-creation of solutions to help them achieve personal and organizational goals.

Include Team Members’ Input in the Change Process

In a survey of 500,000 U.S. workers, the research firm Great Place to Work found that companies where more people said they felt their ideas were sought out and valued tended to yield higher revenue growth and greater employee productivity. The companies that, on average, scored in the top quartile of those metrics generated earned more than five times the revenue growth of companies in the bottom quartile. This shows that giving workers a voice in the change process is good for leading change as well as demonstrates the importance of looking for ways to engage a cross-section of team members affected by workplace change. For that, a quick yet valid change assessment is important.

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3 Steps to Ensuring Buy-In and Commitment to Change at Work

Giving workers a voice in the change process is good for leading change. Here are three steps to ensuring adequate buy-in and commitment to changes at work:

1. Assess Change Attitudes: A quick survey with feedback options can be worth its weight in gold when that information is used to inform decisions about commitment and resistance levels. By knowing who supports current or planned changes and transformation projects, leaders can customize their plans and approaches to ensure emotional, mental, and behavioral buy-in. Since most organizational changes fail due to people-related factors, understanding these risks can be a game changer.

2. Leverage Line Managers: Though the tools for managing and tracking organizational change management often sit with the human resources (HR) team, execution of its strategy sits with line managers. Line managers are often the ones who are going to oversee daily tasks associated with the new ways of working. Involve your key line managers in the process. A good way to do so is to equip them with tools for collecting and analyzing their team’s feedback on organizational changes.

3. Create a Change Agent Network: The value of having an informal network of leaders to support and lead change initiatives should not be underestimated. A single conversation with a trusted colleague can mean the difference between a team that eagerly adopts a new financial reporting system and another team that only reports 30 percent of the information needed to make the summary reporting metrics valuable. By using data to identify team members who are most engaged in the effort, you can create a targeted list of team members who will serve as ambassadors for change initiatives.

About the Author

Robert E. Smith is the founder of The Change Shop (TCS), which provides tools to change leaders that will help them create future workplaces. The TCS platform and benchmarks are based on his dissertation research into factors most associated with highly engaged commitment to change and workplace transformations. With a career spanning human capital technology, talent management, and change leadership, Smith has led large-scale change initiatives at dozens of global and public-sector organizations including PepsiCo, Polo Ralph Lauren, and AT&T.

As a career-long HR professional, author, and organizational change expert, he is sought after for his ideas on ways to increase engagement during difficult organizational transformations. Smith is the author of Selling Change: How Successful Leaders Use Impact, Influence, and Consistency to Transform Their Organizations.

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