Finding Real Pain Points to Embed Change: Business Readiness & HR

I recently held a webinar for HR Professionals and Executive Leaders called The Pain and Payoff of Change. It was a really interesting discussion with HR & Executive Grapevine about the benefits of Business Readiness – a successful approach to change programmes and organisational transformation we’ve been using for 25 years.  It’s something I’m personally very passionate about.

The fundamentals of Business Readiness are:

  • People do like change, when they’re prepared, involved and it’s not done ‘to’ them
  • You have to understand the real pain points of what you’re changing from for your change to land well and last
  • You need to sell your change before you deliver it, including linking cultural change projects to commercial metrics or external benefits
  • You can’t make assumptions on how your change is landing, you should run pulse checks throughout to see if communications are received and understood as intended
  • Successful change needs a hyper-care period to embed. The project doesn’t end the day it’s delivered!

You can watch the webinar here. I thought it would be useful to share some of the results of the polls we asked throughout:

1.     Right now, digitisation is driving twice as much change as legislation

This is a gradual shift from five years ago.  I do think that this is in part because people feel they have to introduce more systems or automation as it’s the “way of the world” – so my first piece of advice is to ask yourself if technology is the right solution for the pain points you have. Of course, technology can be a good option to improve efficiency but don’t forget that it can also be a significant change to the way people work, or even replace some tasks. You have to consider the broader culture and processes, systems providers will often expect the business to get all of that right. We find that the system is only one part of the puzzle and you need to have a clear picture of what’s really happening on the shop floor to know which pain points your system is really solving. A recent article in Management Today covers this in more depth.

2.     2/3 organisations admit that less than half their processes or business operations are accurately documented

I wasn’t surprised by this result and I personally believe that this is the single biggest reason why change programmes fail. Not necessarily the lack of documentation itself but not knowing and appreciating what’s really happening today – or taking the time to find out! People naturally get excited about designing the future state. It’s very easy to miss the single biggest issue and still not solve it. Understanding, documenting and troubleshooting processes is a particular skillset. It’s easy to be too generic; for example, mapping a day in the life of an HRBP rather than a day in the life of an HRBP performing a particular task or using a particular system.

3.     Cultural change is 16x harder to get support and funding for, than legislative change or process efficiency

Ah – the “fluffy” stuff – how many times have we heard cultural change or employee wellbeing described as that? Yet there’s so much research out there showing the bottom line impact of retaining happy employees. A key benefit of the business readiness approach is its ability to help you identify the commercial context for cultural change, focusing on the real root cause. Linking your change programme back to time or money – i.e. retention not morale – is key here.

4.     Nearly half of organisations use in-house PMO teams to implement change

I think it’s great that so many organisations have at least some resource dedicated to driving change programmes. At i-Realise we know there are three pillars to successful change; Strategy Readiness to sell your change; Solution Readiness to design your change; and Operational Readiness to land and embed your change. I’ve always believed that in-house teams need to be driving this third pillar as they’re seen as ‘one of our own’ by other employees. Clients we work with often ask us to join their teams for this stage, lending a pair of experienced hands or two, to support, guide and troubleshoot. The easiest change to land operationally is change that’s backed by a clear strategy and appropriately designed solution.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that change is good for business. It’s also good for people who, in my experience, do want to grow and develop and therefore do like change. They just have to be involved and communicated to throughout.

What’s your view on this? I’m always interested to hear from other individuals leading change and transformation programmes so please do get in touch.

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