Change management is a process that helps organizations and teams incorporate change into the way that they operate. The change could include anything from new methodologies to tools or processes. You can think about change management as helping a group of kayakers navigate towards the correct fork in the river. Each individual has the free-will to guide their own boats, so setting guidelines to help get everyone to the final destination is key.
Measuring change is key to determining and communicating the success of the process both across an organization to encourage adoption and for upward communication on the success of the initiative. Many organizations struggle with how to do this effectively.
Generally, when an organization implements a change, benefits are seen both one person at a time as their individual processes improve and across the organization as a whole. The success of the process is a cumulative result of all the successful individual transitions; this movement should be a coordinated effort with guardrails set in place to keep most people on track. The change environment is meant to empower people across the organization to take action because they know both the expectations for and benefits of the change. To assess the effectiveness of the change management process, focus on measuring both the success of each individual transition and the organization as a whole.
Change Management Measurement and Communication
New trends in measuring change management effectiveness have emerged. It’s important to look at the change management activities you’re using and track the outcomes of those activities at the organizational and individual levels. To implement and measure change:
Develop your goals
Work with all stakeholders at the beginning of the project to determine clear alignment around top priorities or goals (but not too many). Collaborate and define what you plan to achieve. All top managers who have people involved in the change must be aligned.
Decide on key metrics to measure change
Once you’ve determined what success looks like, figure out how to measure it. Start with a baseline on that metric that you can measure throughout the process.
Most likely, your organization will have multiple short-term outcomes as well as the long-term outcomes you are looking for. When measuring the effectiveness of the process, you might select several metrics to evaluate. Don’t forget to include evaluations about how people feel about a change – if it’s seen globally as a negative and those feelings aren’t resolve, it can’t be considered a successful transition. (That said, there will always be naysayers – focus on the innovators, early adopters, and early majority.)
Create buy-in on why this change is important and celebrate success
Help people across your organization understand why the change is important for them and the organization. Along the way, communicate progress – this will help with the momentum of change. Think about when you download software. You want to see the progress bar move, even if it’s only 1% at a time. If it stalls out too long then you will give up on the “change” and delete it. Showing, communicating, and celebrating progress along the way is important.
Did the change stick? Keep measuring after the numbers show that you have high levels of adoption. This will help you spot trends in backsliding the “old ways”. Look at speed, utilization, and proficiency when evaluating cumulative progress.
• Speed: How quickly is your staff adopting the change?
• Utilization: How many employees are using the new process or tool day to day?
• Proficiency: How well are they using the change?
This data can be gathered and should be measured several times during the life cycle of the project. This will help you evaluate the progress and the effectiveness of your change management plan and help to make revisions to achieve your desired goals.
It is possible to measure change management across your organization, evaluations along the way are key to your program’s success. Change management is an important way to help ease any organizational transitions and help employees to understand and embrace changes in your current environment.
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Allison Todd is a manager at Logic20/20 with diverse experience in organizational change, government, team building, administration, management, and leadership.