This article is a follow-up on my previous blog: First, watch the go-live, and Support Model Definition

Organizational Change Management (OCM) is not rocket science - it is mostly common sense that need to be outlined, explained, and executed so that it acts as an accelerator of time to value, controls the impact on corporate culture, supports the project success with user acceptance and allows, in the end, the achievement of the projected business outcome.

HR unique attributes - in particular as a function with a reach and impact on all employees and workers - escalate the importance of HR tools user acceptance, as they have to be understood and accessed by all. Change management must then reach out to very different populations: shared services operators, HR professional and executives, but also all managers and supervisors, all employees, and in a growing number of cases, all workers (including contingent and temporary).

An OCM plan should be considered together with a knowledge transfer plan, as it initiate and ensure an appropriate continuous availability of information, documentation and people. More on training and information transfer in my next blog.

Dispel the confusion

It makes sense to start with a change management strategy early on, including clear communication enterprise-wide on what is being implemented, why, how it is going to support the business strategy.

Change Management is about people, so the type of tools implemented doesn’t really impact the process. The differences between the projects are often in the planned times and costs of realization of the project. If a SaaS (or Cloud) project can be faster than traditional projects, you can expect your people to still take the same amount of time as before to learn, adapt to new tools, communicate and share – and comparatively, you will have to start right away as the project get initiated, so to have enough time, taking - proportionally - a more important slice of the whole effort.

For this very reason, it tends to be under-estimated; comparing to the total cost of the project, it might look excessive – but you have to compare it to the actual change being planned, and not to the project costs and speed.

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Questions to drive a Change Management approach

Essentially we need to cover the classic H4W (How, What, Who, Why and When)

o  What to describe what will change

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go? What is the end-state vision?
  • How is the proposed change aligned with the business and functional strategy?

o  Why to build a sense of URGENCY 

  • Do we have a solid business case (or do we know why we need to change)?
  • Can we envision a road-map for the change?
  • Analyze the context – review strength and weaknesses, threats and opportunities (SWOT), and identify what success will look like from the employees’ POV

o  Who to identify the stakeholders

  • Who has ownership and sponsorship
  • Identify potential blockers (who will feel threatened by the change and new tools?)
  • Clarify who is the customer - or, the recipients of the proposed change
  • Understand the interaction among principal actors
  • Assess HR capability and resources that will be required by the to-be state, so they can be retained or acquired

o  When

  • Align the change management process to the project plan
  • Ensure continuous and relevant communication
  • Focus training on a “just in time” phase

o  How to translate the change plan into practice

  • How can we explain it, so all employees will understand
  • What are the obstacles, and can we embed the counter-arguments in the change management plan?
  • What training should be delivered, to whom and when?

Surveys can support a discovery phase to understand organizational readiness and flexibility. It isn’t unusual to see different expectations in the executive layer and among the employees, and that difference should be addressed by communication and sharing.

Remember: no need to be original here, just to be prepared. 

Creating a plan

After having defined the H4W approach – it is time to tie it all together. Deriving the change from specific corporate and business priorities can deliver buy-in from multiple layers of the organization, in particular taking care of managers/employees population.

In the next chapters, I will cover the following topics:

  • Knowledge, Training and Documentation
  • Operational Governance approach
  • Release Management routines

So come back to our blogs to learn more!

For more information or to request the full whitepaper on this topic and more, contact me at cbersano@lsiconsulting.com, and visit my Linkedin profile for more blogs and details.

Topics: Human Capital Management

Chiara Bersano

Written by Chiara Bersano

HR Technology advisor - Change and Transformation Agent - SAP HCM and SuccessFactors