Managing Change – Stop Telling, Start Communicating
What is the biggest factor in the success/failure of a competency project? The technology? The quality and relevancy of the competency frameworks that you use? It may surprise you to hear that as a software and competency framework provider, our answer at Lexonis is ‘no’, they are critical, but they are not the biggest factor. When asked by clients, we have a top three:
- Executive Sponsorship
- Structured Change Management Approach
- Frequent, Open, Frequent, Communication
No, that’s not a typo – before, during and onwards – you can never communicate too much.
All too often we find that good engagement and communication techniques are either overlooked or limited to some light touch communications. The result is that the project appears to have little alignment with the organisation’s business objectives and critically, no buy-in from the project’s key stakeholders.
Firstly, some words about sponsorship; it is not just about having a senior figurehead, someone who sends and signs off communication emails. My experience is that sponsorship management is a real business skill and needs to be visible right from the start of a project, then through and beyond implementation.
At Lexonis, we place a lot of importance on supporting our clients to engage active and visible sponsorship and helping them to achieve the objectives of their change project. Since qualifying as a Prosci Change Management Practitioner back in 2019, we have strengthened our alignment with the structure of the ADKAR model specifically for engagement and communication and the five outcomes needed for the change to be successful, that is.
- Awareness of the need for change
- Desire to participate and support the change
- Knowledge of how to change
- Ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis
- Reinforcement to keep the change in place / make it stick
If you get your engagement and communications right, your outcomes will be visible – in what you hear and see.
To help build Awareness we provide samples and templates for early communications, to help with sponsorship support and management, suggestions for engaging managers and supervisors as change leaders as part of a sponsorship coalition.
We also demonstrate how the Lexonis tools can provide ready access to information, important for moving onto creating Desire to support the change.
Get it right at this stage and you will hear ‘I understand why’ and ‘I have decided to’. Get it wrong and you will have employees asking the same questions over and over and see delays in your implementation.
There are a range of Knowledge, skills and behaviours that individuals, supervisors and managers will need, to adopt the change; understanding the process and using the Lexonis system included. We provide learning and development support using a range of methods, from workshops to video tutorials, that can be integrated into an organisation’s plan for upskilling and knowledge transfer. Naturally, as part of that, we share a plethora of lessons learned and sample materials that can be adapted to help our clients develop Ability across stakeholders and impacted groups.
Investing these efforts at this stage you will hear ‘I know how to’ and ‘I am able to’; without this investment you will see lower utilization or incorrect usage of the new system. Employees may worry whether they can be successful in the future.
We know that developing the right engagement and communication strategy has many dependencies which will differ for each organisation and for each specific project. We invest time speaking with our clients about the outcomes of any impact and readiness assessments, and the resistance that they are likely to encounter. We share anecdotes and lessons with clients, which we have gained from our long experience of implementing (HR Tech) projects and introducing the new software – they often express their appreciation when we help them to develop their ‘resistance management plan’.
An additional facet for the project team to consider is how to get the change to stick, so that change adoption becomes habitual as the celebration of their successes occur. It’s a continuous programme of work in a good change management strategy which we recognise as a critical part of our consultancy provision.
Reinforcement is working if you’re hearing ‘I will continue to’; if the new ways of working aren’t sticking, employees will revert to old ways of doing things, ultimate utilization is less than anticipated and the organization creates a history of poorly managed change.
As you can see, there are numerous ways in which we support our clients and help them to demonstrate how their (HT tech) project is reaping the benefits envisioned for employees, managers and senior leadership teams. The impact of this work should never be under-estimated, remember it’s critical to the success (or failure) of your (HR Tech) project!
If you’re interested in learning more, attend our November 30th Webinar, “Successful HR Tech Impementation: 5 Key Change Management Tips”.