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Data-Driven Strategies Revolutionising Change Management
Monika Pathak, HR Head of Digit Life Insurance believes that leaders can help empower change agents by viewing past data, ranging from retention ratios of the teams, mood score, career progression and innovation at an individual and team level
Change is an integral part of any organisation's journey towards growth and adaptation. In today's dynamic business landscape, where agility is paramount, effective change management is not just a necessity; it's a competitive advantage. Monika Pathak, human resources (HR) head of Digit Life Insurance, sheds light on how digital platforms are transforming change management processes. Leveraging data-driven insights, empowering change agents and addressing resistance head-on, she provides valuable strategies for not just managing change but driving successful change initiatives.
Can you share some insights into how organisations utilise digital platforms to facilitate and streamline change management processes?
HR leaders can leverage digital platforms to streamline change management processes, enhance employee engagement and ensure a smoother transition during organisational changes. These platforms can be used in different steps of change management. Communication and collaboration platforms like microsoft teams help foster open communication among employees, management and stakeholders. This facilitates sharing updates, addressing concerns and providing a central hub for change-related discussions. Employee surveys and feedback tools like SurveyMonkey, MS Forms or Infeedo can also help companies collect feedback and assess employee sentiment regarding the change. This input helps in understanding concerns and adjusting strategies accordingly. A higher adoption of such tools is seen specifically in BFSI sector aimed towards highly engaged employees. Implementing learning management systems (LMS) help deliver training programmes related to the change. Employees can easily access online courses, webinars and resources, ensuring they are adequately prepared for the transition. Employee self-service portals are also used by companies for easy access to information, policies and FAQs related to the change.
Organisations also use performance management software to help gauge the return on investment (ROI) and impact of change. Data analytics tools are also used to analyse and determine the effectiveness of the change. Some organisations are also utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots at the workplace. This is used to especially gauge employee mood and feedback.
Change often begins with managers and early adopters. How can HR leaders identify and empower these change agents within the organisation and what role do they play in driving successful change initiatives?
HR leaders can help identify and empower change agents by viewing past data, which can range from retention ratios of the teams, mood score, career progression and innovation at an individual and team level. This can give us visibility of identifying the influencers at the workplace and identify the people who have the vision and intent to make and drive change. HR leaders needs to identify those who have driven transformation with a lot of passion.
HR plays a large role in steering change management and can encourage it by rewarding behaviours, which promote and support an environment of transformation through trainings, townhalls, mentoring and by giving them access to information. Lastly, asking employees to volunteer in change management is the easiest and most effective method to identify the early adopters. If we keep these volunteers informed and trained on the change implementation, they can take the initiative to its desired fruition.
The pertinent question is how one can enable such employees. Enabling such driven employees to help in change management through sharing information, data and impact then creates a ripple effect. Specific to the kind of change, one can organise training programmes to give them skills to drive this change. One can also empower by authorising such employees to drive and implement change. During a large-scale system implementation, a few employees from each department can be identified as system champions and they can take charge to see that each employee could use the system. They could send reminders, create dashboards and organise training sessions to ensure a successful implementation.
How can HR teams leverage data-driven insights to plan, execute and evaluate change initiatives? Can you provide examples of how data has influenced decision-making in change management?
We as humans tend to embrace and be comfortable with the status quo. So, for any change, you need to convince the human brain otherwise. Data can play a significant role in helping humans accept change by providing clarity, transparency and evidence-based insights.
Data can be used to clearly explain why a change is necessary. When employees see concrete evidence of the need for change, they are more likely to understand and accept it. We can show employees how the proposed change will benefit them personally and the organisation as a whole. One can use data to demonstrate potential improvements in efficiency, job satisfaction or career growth. For example, if job security is a concern during a restructuring, we can provide data on how similar changes in the past resulted in nil job loss.
Feedback is one of the strongest tools for employees to voice their concerns and suggestions. This involvement can give them a sense of ownership in the change process. This also acts as an additional data point to do course correction during the change cycle. In many instances, after the launch of change initiatives, some features could have been corrected because employees gave their feedback. This also creates an environment of trust for future changes. We can also use data segmentation to tailor communication to different employee groups. Recognise that different departments or teams may have unique concerns and motivations. One can also present data in a compelling and relatable way; using stories, anecdotes and real-life examples to illustrate the impact of the change on individuals and the organisation can go a long way in driving change.
Resistance to change is a common challenge. Can you share strategies that organisations can employ to address and mitigate resistance when implementing significant changes?
A launch of any change with adequate data points, impact analysis and general transparency builds a great foundation. This can lead to lesser resistance.
Early adopters are the biggest asset during change management. They can really influence the ones who resist. We can announce the success stories and the impact that was made due to those adoptions. Management also plays an important role. If the management speaks to employees on benefits of a certain change or implementation regularly, it creates a higher level of trust in the whole process, reducing resistance.
Most of the time, one resists change only because they don’t feel comfortable with uncertainty. To address this, feedback is a great method. It gives a platform to employees to address those feelings and seek clarity. Companies should not shy away from seeking feedback on any change and address the feedback that is not favourable in an open forum. It could be an unpleasant discussion, but in most cases, employees would appreciate an honest discussion.
Nonetheless, in spite of data-driven approach and feedback, there can be apprehensions. To address this, one can implement small-scale pilot programme and collect data to showcase the benefits of the change. Employees are often more receptive when they see positive results firsthand.
Change initiatives need to be evaluated for their effectiveness. What metrics can be used to measure the success of change management efforts and how do you adjust strategies based on these metrics?
Before we even begin to speak about the ROI and success of a certain initiative, what holds the highest importance is the objective setting. At the beginning of the launch of an initiative, one should have set up objectives and the parameters that will define success for the said initiative. If we have those KPIs in place, some other metrics can be considered and included. Some of them are:
Employee Engagement: Measure employee satisfaction, morale and willingness to embrace change through surveys and feedback.
Adoption Rate: Track how many employees have adopted new processes or systems. One can also track the adoption on a weekly and monthly basis to create impactful nudges or make effective course corrections.
Productivity Metrics: Monitor changes in productivity (if defined), efficiency and output post-implementation.
Cost Savings or ROI: Calculate the financial impact of the change, including cost reductions or revenue increases.
Resistance Levels: Measure the level of resistance and identify its sources through feedback.
Mitigation of Resistance: Identify if the resistance could be addressed in the stipulated time frame.