November 10, 2021

Change management: succeeding in your transformation in 2022



5 min reading

Change management is at the heart of success: how to make a success of your digital transformation?

Employee commitment is the number one condition for success.

The history of companies is littered with great projects that have failed because they were rejected by those who were supposed to implement them. Obtaining the support and commitment of employees is a prerequisite for any business transformation project.

GMK Conseil has identified 5 main causes of failure in change management:

  • Resistance to change
  • Poor communication
  • Lack of listening
  • Too rapid a change process
  • The inability to revise business strategy

The most common cause of project failure is resistance to change. Each of us has forged our own working habits and we all like to stay in our comfort zone. Imposing a project on employees that will break their professional habits automatically generates opposition. Any change requires an explanation from both the management and the project team. You have to communicate, but also know how to listen and take into account feedback from the field. Communication is the most critical point in making a transformation strategy a success or failure.

Transparency, an imperative in 2022

Imposing an organizational change or even simply a new software package requires an explanation phase with the employees. This communication effort must be proportional to the changes that are going to be asked of employees. It is important to explain why the change must take place, how it will work and what the benefits will be for each employee. Transparency reduces the level of stress generated by the change and makes the staff adhere to the company project.

👍 Boost your internal communication in times of change with our 7 best practices for internal communication.

As Jason Hathaway points out in an article for Les Echos, empathy is a key element of successful change management. You have to be able to listen, to take into account the testimonies, but above all to be able to adapt the project according to the reactions collected from the employees. Economic pressure, and also the acceleration of changes, push managers to want to adopt new technologies very quickly. Imposing the use of a tool as structuring as Microsoft 365 on an entire organization without change management means taking the risk that the tool will be underused, or even rejected by some users.

GMK Conseil analyses that "human time" is incompressible. Wanting to rush things can lead to deadlock. It is now impossible to neglect this change management phase and relegate it to the end of the project.

Few companies have really mastered the art of change management. The 2016 IFOP barometer on the human accompaniment of change already pointed out the stress generated by changes among employees. Although 78% consider changes to be necessary, half of them believe that they are too numerous, too frequent and worrying. Change in working methods is the most cited change, ahead of the implementation of new equipment or software. Logically, structural reorganization remains the most traumatic for staff. Twice as many employees report poor morale after a reorganization or downsizing.

Multiple models of change management

At the crossroads of management and psychology, various change management methods have appeared in recent years. The best known is undoubtedly the Lewin model. Created by the American psychologist Kurt Lewin, it is based on the metaphor of a block of ice. To change the shape of an ice cube, you have to melt it, change the mould and then freeze it again so that it takes on a new shape. This model, proposed in 1947, has been modified and extended many times. In practice, the Lewin model can be summarized in 5 phases:

  • Initiation ;
  • Adoption ;
  • Adaptation ;
  • Stabilisation ;
  • Infusion.

In 2004, the management professor Bernard Burnes completed this model by looping it, the changes then becoming cumulative. This looping approach is found in particular in the agile methods used in the development of applications. These evolve in an iterative manner, by successive leaps. This approach makes it possible to gain agility while keeping change management under control. As each evolution is limited in scope, the impact on users is smaller.

Among the many approaches to change management, Kanter's Wheel of Change occupies a major place. Shown as a 10-spoked wheel, it has inspired many change management consultants and authors.

The 10 phases of Kanter's Wheel of Change :

  1. Sharing the vision ;
  2. Setting up a progress measurement system and milestones;
  3. Create an incentive system based on rewards and recognition;
  4. Establishment of procedures to standardize practices;
  5. Seek early success;
  6. Nominate champions and sponsors;
  7. Communicate and exchange best practices;
  8. Provide support in terms of training and tools;
  9. Identify symbols and signals that emphasise change;
  10. Set up a process control structure.

Another more modern model was proposed in 1996 by John Kotter, the author of the famous article "Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail". Even then he pointed out that 70% of organisational changes do not achieve their objectives. The Kotter model takes up the loop principle. Its interest lies in placing the role of the manager at the centre of the process. He must create a sense of urgency, the starting point of the project. He or she must communicate the vision of the future and help each member of staff to become involved in the process. Throughout the project, the manager must communicate on the initial successes and consolidate the whole process to ensure that it is sustainable. It should be noted that John Kotter has updated his model by reinforcing the role of employees as relays and co-constructors of change.

This role of the individual is also highlighted by the ADKAR model, which stands for Awareness Desire Knowledge Ability Reinforcement. Proposed by the consulting firm Prosci in 1981, this model is more specifically centred on the individual. Its creator, Jeff Hiatt, wanted to fully integrate the individual into the transformation process. It sets out a roadmap for involving project sponsors, managers, trainers and employees alike*.

The role of tooling in a successful transformation

Each of these methods has its strengths and weaknesses, but they all converge on the importance of communication with employees. Good communication is the key to successful change management. The role of HR and internal communication is to engage employees in the projects. Management must be able to communicate to its employees its vision, the nature of the changes and the reasons for the project. Throughout the project, the team in charge of the transformation must provide information on the progress of the project. Communication on the successes achieved, exchanges on the difficulties encountered and the sharing of best practices should be encouraged as much as possible.

📌 To go further, find out how to create a strong company culture in 6 steps.

Internal communication can distribute Leaflets to employees, run seminars and training courses. It should also regularly publish news about the project via the company's social networks and intranet, organise webinars and online question and answer sessions. There are many face-to-face and remote mechanisms to stimulate employee engagement. Each employee must be able to report to the project team and management on successes, but also on the friction points encountered. In this respect, the role of the Digital Workplace and collaboration tools is crucial in facilitating these exchanges.

👍 To go further, find out how to turn your intranet into a Digital Workplace

Much more than in the past, in 2022 any transformation must be accompanied by a solid change management plan and a strategy for rationalising tools.

Capitalizing on existing tools saves time and efficiency. As an extension of Microsoft 365, Mozzaik365 enhances the user experience while remaining within the Microsoft environment. The experience is seamless for users. This reduces friction points, making it much easier to adopt new tools.

💡 To go further, discover 5 good reasons to create a Microsoft-based intranet

Things to remember

📌 Solicit the commitment of employees;

📌 Stay transparent;

📌 Keep it simple;

📌 Adopt a change management model for your organisation;

📌 Choose a transformation aid tool.

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