There are two things that are common to all organisations: seeking to improve performance and concern as to how to do this in a changing future. So the one phrase that can’t escape leaders anywhere is ‘business transformation’. It carries thoughts of both anticipated benefits as well as the insecurity of not delivering it successfully.
For many businesses, the emphasis during transformation is on getting the right systems and processes in place. But the one thing that is frequently forgotten, the element that will make or break a business transformation strategy, is the attitudes and support of the people needed to deliver it.
Lack of resources and out-dated legacy systems are widely blamed for high failure rate in business transformation. But it’s the human factor that is the most essential part of a transformation project. People often find it difficult to deal with change in the workplace. Some people may not understand the point of the transformation, some may use the dangerous phrase “we’ve always done it this way”, and others may lack the skills the business now needs. If you can’t get the people on board with change, then all the work put behind building new systems and processes is wasted.
As soon as employees become disengaged with the transformation, they begin lacking motivation and become detached from their daily work, and so their productivity and interest in making the change work both plummet, almost dooming the transformation to failure.
Recent research highlights that the investable culture reigns supreme with only 24% of employees feeling connected to their peers, with the gap causing cross-functional friction. Whilst only 25% of employees feel valued at work. What’s more concerning is that these figures continue to deteriorate year-on-year. The research presents the stark reality and challenge in transforming organisations in light of these fundamental employee engagement issues.
Research also shows that committed employees perform better. If we accept that involvement and engagement is ‘one step up’ from commitment, it is clearly in the organisations’ interests to understand the drivers of engagement. Analysis of most case study data indicates that opinions about, and experiences of many aspects of working life are strongly correlated with engagement levels. However, the strongest driver of all is a sense of feeling valued and involved. This has several key components:
With change all around us, organisations that recognise the significant positive impact engagement can have, and the ways to measure and manage it, will come out ahead.
Different types of organisational change have significant impacts on engagement. The approach for driving engagement will look different depending on the organisation and/or situation. But taking the first step in a change strategy—measuring engagement and what drives it for your organisation—is an important element in enabling your organisation to effectively manage the opportunities and risks associated with most types of change and transformation.
Too often, business transformation is created and delivered by a separate project team, meaning that the rest of the organisation feels ‘done to’ and disengaged. We have all led change and transformation programmes, but how many times have we properly considered how well colleagues are involved and integral in making successful change happen and more importantly, sustained.
The key questions for executives – is your organisation spending more time looking at financial business cases and project plans than truly engaging and empowering the workforce to address current challenges?
Linea has significant experience in developing transformation programmes which focus on behavioural change to deliver sustainable improvement through effective employee communication, engagement and empowerment. Contact us to see how we can accelerate your transformation programme by appropriately and effectively integrating your employees in the successful delivery of complex change.
Paul Renshaw is a commercially focused ‘people’ professional with 30 years’ experience. 17 years as a Board member with significant experience in leading and delivering organisation-wide transformation programmes across several sectors within plc’s, government-owned commercial entities, privately owned businesses and the public sector.
Paul has spent his entire career within customer-focused organisations that have all required the highest degrees of governance as well as the highest standards of true business partnering. Wide sector experience shows an ability to adapt an approach to vastly different situations, including heavily unionised environments.