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Three Ways Build Resiliency Through Organizational Change Management

This article was originally published on Spiceworks

Stefanie Gunia of Kalypso discusses the importance of organizational change management in achieving digital agility and resiliency amid ongoing change and uncertainty.

Organizational change management is crucial for achieving digital agility and resilience in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.

According to the World Economic ForumOpens a new window, the global economy is headed toward its weakest medium-term growth in over 30 years. It is not surprising that across all industries and regions, concerns about inflation, geopolitical unrest, and labor shortages have a direct impact on the slow economic recovery we are witnessing.

Today’s largest problem businesses face is navigating through all the sudden change while maintaining streamlined processes and the business bottom line. Change management is vital to any digital transformation project, though sometimes underprioritized. To succeed in today’s highly competitive market, businesses must support and actively manage organizational change.

Let’s look at how companies can use organizational change management (OCM) to effectively accomplish their digital transformation goals and achieve digital agility and resiliency.

Connecting Human Adoption With Systems Implementation

Now more than ever, businesses recognize the importance of resilient and adaptable systems and processes that can react and respond to unexpected change. When business executives and decision-makers are charged with leading organizational transformations, they usually only focus on delivering outcomes directly to adopting and implementing new systems and processes.

Examples of common processes and programs that typically take center stage when an organization defines its transformation strategy include pressure testing solutions, scenario planning, and ensuring failure plans are in place.

In addition to defining processes and systems, an organization must also train and prepare its workforce to utilize and deploy these solutions for the transformation to be successful. Organizations can do this by giving employees a detailed plan that clearly outlines the reason and purpose of the transformation, how it coincides with the business goals, and how it will support them. This gives employees the knowledge they need about goal alignment, which helps them better establish how they will deliver outcomes and succeed.

The organization’s change management practitioner drives this strategy and ensures the program’s long-term success.

Enabling Digital Transformation Success

Implementing digital capabilities across organizational processes, structures, technology, data, roles, and responsibilities requires considerable change. This is where organizational change management comes into play.

A business’ OCM capability should drive digital transformation, encourage employee involvement in the change process and position the company for measurable success. With OCM, companies are six times more likely to achieve project goals and have a higher system and process adoption rate. While there are several key roles within OCM—including people managers, change practitioners, sponsors, and project managers—they all typically have the same intention: act as change agents to educate and develop key functions within the transformation and motivate the workforce to utilize the new ways of working.

For OCM practitioners, the first step in this process is to establish and describe the transformation strategy upfront. This means that OCM practitioners should be included in executive alignment, awareness, and business case development discussions. This allows them to clearly understand the motivations behind the change and the value it can bring to the company at all levels.

OCM practitioners should also be actively involved in design and testing sessions. Being involved in every significant milestone and opportunity to gather feedback allows practitioners to transform useful insights into key concept training and communication campaigns; help leadership prepare for any potential resistance; and support program leadership in addressing risks and potential barriers in a way that engages users and does not minimize their concerns. Joining design sessions also gives OCM practitioners the opportunity and ability to provide input on the design of the solution. Since understanding human behavior is the cornerstone of what OCM practitioners do, they can point out opportunities to enhance the solution in ways that would better engage the user, simplify their life, and make them want to implement the solution.

Consider an industrial manufacturing business that wants its operations crew to use connected tablets to identify and address potential problems in the field. Knowing that adoption will be difficult, the OCM team analyzes user demand. It suggests a dashboard to make the software program more engaging for users and track the team’s key performance indicators (KPIs), encouraging them to break their previous records. The management team benefits from more effective operations, and the operations crew benefits from an engaging method to take responsibility for their performance.

Improving Resiliency and Agility

Staying competitive in today’s business landscape—made up of economic ambiguity, globalization, and technological breakthroughs—is no small feat and requires companies to be able to respond and adjust to continual change rapidly.

Organizational change management provides the blueprint for managing change and uncertainty throughout an organization’s transformation and helps to create a culture of adaptability and resilience. To achieve this level of agility, change practitioners must get strong support and sponsorship from the leadership team and identify and train change agents within the organization to drive transformation initiatives across all business units. This also includes developing a communication plan that promotes and encourages a two-way dialogue between the workforce and change agents and analyzing previous change projects to uncover areas for improvement.

Organizational change management is the glue that holds an organization’s initiatives together. It ensures the company is ready for change and that its employees are properly integrated into the process at every stage. A company that needs to adapt to unexpected change will greatly benefit from a workforce that is prepared to support the company’s strategic objectives, adjust to digital transformations and respond better during challenging times.

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