Staff engagement is the key to successful business transformation

24. 03. 16 Andes Loukianos

At our inaugural Delivering Change event late last year, one of the key themes that emerged was that central to the success of an effective business transformation project is staff engagement.

No business is immune to the need to make major change within their organisation. It could need to adapt their operational capabilities, update technologies or adjust to accommodate new market realities. Whatever the reason, business change is inevitable and getting staff on-board to make the most of these new ways of working is essential.

Louise Uys-Jones, Financial Controller at Cheval Residences shared her experiences of rolling out six new IT systems in a year at the event. With its staff’s average length of service nine years and guests staying with Cheval Residences for long periods of time, many staff didn’t really understand the need to make changes to the organisation. However, Cheval was able to successfully overcome this resistance for change by appointing ‘change champions’, those staff members who had embraced the new technologies and were happy to share their know-how with colleagues.

Communicating your plans to transform the business at the beginning of the project or even before it starts will help staff get used to the idea that things are able to change. It’s also imperative that team leaders and the senior management teams make themselves available to field any questions staff may have involving any new processes. Any communications such as help-guides should also be tailored for the specific needs of various audience groups to make the adoption of new technologies and processes as easy as possible.

Another of our guest speakers from BlackLine, who took Camelot through a business transformation process to streamline the organisation’s paper-based financial reporting processes, also shared some best practice advice:

  1. Always be able give an answer to why a process needs to change – be sure that you’re making a change for a good reason, and even if you don’t agree with it personally as a senior person within the business you need to be seen to support key business decisions.
  2. Define the goal so that success can be measured – another common mishap is to focus only on the change of process and lose sight of the end result. Start with the end in mind and be sure to make checks along the way to ensure the business is collectively heading in the same direction.
  3. Don’t forget the people – engage with team members and get them to contribute, share opinions and where possible make the change happen. Most of us do better when we have a say in how our lives will change.

The ultimate goal in any business transformation process would be for all staff members to feel empowered by the changes and keen to embrace any process or productivity efficiencies. It’s easy to overlook staff engagement as part of the change management process as busy implementation teams can get lost in technical or operational detail.

However it’s an organisation’s staff who ultimately determine the success of a new project and their involvement should be considered as a key part of any project.

More information

Watch Louise-Uys Jones discuss the importance of ‘change champions’.

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Andes Loukianos

Written by:

Andes Loukianos

Head of Touchstone Business Intelligence