How engagement levers drive successful transformation projects
Changing managerial culture
Resistance to change is one of the main challenges for transformation projects. Some habits are deeply entrenched. Successive reorganizations can also lead to fatigue or destroy motivation. When this happens, it’s essential to create momentum throughout the company.
One solution is to rally managers and connect them in various communities organized by role or by cross-functional teams.
These managers need to able to meet and work together to rethink how things are done as part of change management.
Some companies host one or two day open forums with a diverse group of attendees to encourage interaction among people from different positions, cultures, levels, etc. These forums are an opportunity to reflect on a key question that should lead to a change in strategy. Use these discussions to get buy-in and co-create your project.
Involve all levels of the organization
You have to mobilize everyone on various levels using top-down or bottom-up strategies. Bottom-up approaches work best because they enable you to gather the most ideas and involve everyone by actually taking into account what people in the field need and want.
Don’t exclude middle management. If you do, they’ll be stuck between directives from top management and the teams who have to implement them. They won’t be in control anymore and will feel a bit lost and confused about what to do. It’s important for them to understand how they can help drive change through indicators that enable them to track operational progress.
Finding change champions
Identify the right profiles
To successfully implement transformation projects, you need to rely on a network of ambassadors working on the ground to champion the change with their peers.
Based on the context, you will need to narrow down the expectations and identify the profiles you’re looking for in advance. This is important because some employees may not be able to do this work because they lack the skills, don’t think it’s in their interest, etc.
Ambassadors need to educate others and promote a practical and pragmatic view of change that is connected to everyday concerns.
Some companies have paired up departments – marketing and IT, for example – so they can work together to convey information. This is one way to support ambassadors and help them be more efficient.
While it’s essential to appoint ambassadors, their work must be fully recognized. Otherwise, the effort they put in to launch a project won’t translate into long-term results.
Your objectives have to take into account the work your ambassadors do. This topic should be discussed during annual reviews. The individual should be acknowledged, as well as any skills they used or learned. Successes must be recognized, possibly by paying a bonus, as well as by inviting ambassadors to make a presentation or share feedback.
Employees who become ambassadors also need to have time to take on the additional workload. Including this work in their objectives can help with this.
Avoiding burnout and making change last
The number of projects is growing and adding up. That’s why it’s important to set priorities and make sure they fit into the company’s strategy. The transformation must make sense. It will be even more meaningful if it is led from the highest levels in the company, possibly by senior management.
Strong sponsorship that relies on ambassadors, communities and PMOs is often a key factor for success.
In order for the transformation project to make lasting change, it’s important to clarify what’s at stake and set objectives. Indicators must be created for all levels, including metrics for the entire company and for each region, country, etc. This data will help you track changes and make sure all employees understand what is going on.
Adding indicators can sometimes make certain employees feel like they’re being policed. Co-creating the project in advance is a key way to avoid this issue. This way, you aren’t imposing the things people have to do but are giving everyone the means to progress and succeed.