How Analytics Can Boost Change Management

By Jared Atchison,
business.com writer
|
May 14, 2020
Image Credit: Ivan-balvan / Getty Images

Creating change in an organization is as challenging an experience as it is desirable.

Did you know that most business transformations end in failure? According to McKinsey and Company, 70% of all corporate transformations fail. Even though new tools, processes, and leadership changes can boost business growth on paper, in reality, these success scenarios rarely play out. 

The actual process of rolling out new changes is often a period of severe discomfort. Why does this happen? The main reason for such a dramatic failure rate has to do with people. 

When it comes to creating change several issues negatively impact a new product rollout or a merger. 

  • Employees may be resistant to trying out new tools and processes
  • Leaders fail to convey the benefits and importance of change
  • People may fear that their skills will become redundant
  • There's a deep-seated resistance to learning 

Managing these issues is no easy feat. Successful change management relies on addressing the issues and concerns of your employees before they surge into an insurmountable block.

Although managing people and their related concerns may seem like 'soft' issues requiring personal skills and emotional intelligence, change management can be data-driven and objective.

In this post, we're going to explore how data analytics can play a powerful role in making change successful. 

Data already impacts how we do business. Many businesses rely on website analytics and CRM to power their site experience, sales and SEO. 51% of businesses state that improving their contact data quality is the biggest obstacle to email marketing success. 95% say that accessing current customer data undermines their general marketing efforts.

But these issues are currently being circumvented with the ever-increasing implementation of analytical solutions. When it comes to change management, here's a breakdown of how analytics can help:

  • It can identify likely sources of resistance
  • You get real-time input on employee wellbeing 
  • It's easy to conduct sentiment analysis of internal and external communication
  • Measure training efficiency to find knowledge gaps
  • Predict the adoption of technology in different groups
  • Build dashboards to visually track change management goals 

Now that analytics has entered the foray, change management will become more measurable and predictable. Let's dive deeper to understand the role that data analytics can play in assisting change. 

Get feedback from employees

When making changes to your workflows and tools, the people who feel the impact the most are your internal stakeholders i.e. employees. This is why it is essential to get feedback from them. The great news is that the development of AI and business analytics means that you can get real-time information. 

Usually, you'd create a survey form, send it out, wait for results, send reminders to get it filled, analyze it and then make decisions. This is a slow process and you're losing precious time with which to manage key pain points as they occur. 

With a business intelligence tool like an app for employees to communicate on, you can create real-time feedback mechanisms and get opinions instantly. As a leader, you'll learn what isn't working and what tools and changes you need to add to help people do their jobs well. 

What's important about using analytics to gather feedback is that you can measure the effectiveness of your rollout on specific groups and then build models to predict how other groups or teams will behave. 

Future rollouts can be predicted and managed with greater accuracy leading to high adoption rates and success. Imagine what this means for major overhauls such as mergers and acquisitions.

One of the most significant ways that this type of technology helps is that it creates a dialogue. Leaders can listen to their employees and answer questions. This leads to continued trust in the business and greater cooperation. 

Gauge external stakeholder sentiment

So far, we've looked at how your internal stakeholders aka your employees can be positively impacted by analytics to create conversations. What about external stakeholders?

External stakeholders consist of people like trustees, members of the board  and other players depending on the nature of your business. You may even consider journalists to be important as their reporting can impact how change is received within and outside the organization. 

AI and analytics can be used to power social media listening tools and sentiment analysis. You'll be able to gauge the emotional charge behind tweets, posts and even email exchanges with your company. This will help you monitor problem areas as they arise and step in to mitigate them early on. 

Create change dashboards

Businesses already use attractive visual dashboards to track KPIs for finances, sales and marketing. A Change Management dashboard can similarly serve you by creating an overhead view of whether your goals are being met. 

You'll get graphs, trends and real-time data that will reveal issues early on so that you can manage them. What information can a change dashboard show you? Let's take a look:

Employee and stakeholder sentiment: A dashboard can help you keep track of the positive, negative, or neutral impact that people in your organization experience across projects and timelines. 

Speed: You'll get an overview of how fast a tool or a process is being adopted and will be able to fix bottlenecks faster.

Tool implementation success: Is the new tool fully implemented across different teams? You'll be able to track the progress with which new tools are adopted and whether they are a success. 

Visualize cultural bottlenecks: Some platforms enable you to create historical assessments of reactions to new changes. You'll identify any risk-averse culture or areas where there's resistance to change. This will allow you to put in more effort in places that need the most help.

Readiness for Change: A change dashboard will help you gauge your organization's capability to manage new projects. Readiness for change will indicate if you need to offer more training or communication material to ease the transition.

A change management dashboard will create a visual overview of how your new rollout is doing at your organization. It will help you get information and understand what's happening across different levels and teams that will allow you to intervene promptly.

Recruit change agents

Change in your organization simply isn't possible without the cooperation of your people. It only takes a few unwilling individuals to disrupt your expensive and essential new rollout. 

This is why you need to identify and recruit respected and influential employees within your organization to act as ambassadors for change. You can train them to become change agents or you can hire people from outside to act in a change agent role. 

A change agent can support you with their technical know-how and social skills. They can rally the more passive employees in your organization to get on board with the new changes. They'll intervene in internal political situations and help make the transition easier. 

You need to support your change agents by offering them intensive training. They need formal training via online courses and boot camps. But they'll also need to learn soft skills related to leadership, team building and communication. Most of all, they'll need support and motivation from your senior leadership. 

Track training success

Training and skill development is an important component of change in a business. Analytics can help you track and assess important metrics related to training.

It will help you carry out assessments to understand the knowledge and skill gaps within your organization. You'll also be able to identify necessary skills that will lead to success so that you can set up training modules for them 

This will help you allocate the best resources to the right roles so that they can develop the skills needed to facilitate change. 

You'll boost the rate at which your employees become more competent in new jobs or in using new systems. You'll also improve onboarding and transition times. 

One of the best outcomes is that finding skill gaps and then filling them up by training your people will build trust and loyalty. They could experience changes in your business as a time of growth rather than a threat to their livelihoods. 

Conclusion

When using analytics to drive and measure major changes in your business, you're building valuable information for the future. 

Now that we can measure and track everything, and also process large data sets, we will be able to predict future successes. 

Consider using analytics as a powerful way to create change that not only grows your business but also enhances your employees' experiences.

Co-Founder of WPForms, one of the largest WordPress contact form plugins in the market. I have been programming for over a decade and enjoy creating plugins that help people create powerful web designs without touching code.
Like the article? Sign up for more great content.Join our communityAlready a member? Sign in.