Navigating Change Management: Fostering Organizational Engagement

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Sep 05, 2023

Navigating Change Management: Fostering Organizational Engagement

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Written by Kimberly Paulison

Category: Change Management

Inclusive is one of Impact Advisors’ Six Key Principles of Change Management, introduced in previous articles. Here, we take a deeper dive into the Inclusive principle, including why it is important and how to achieve it as part of your change management methodology.

Successfully executing an organizational initiative, such as implementing a new enterprise-wide system (e.g., EHR or ERP), requires a comprehensive change management approach that encompasses technology, processes, and people, all working together.  While the project team supports the execution of project activities (e.g., system build, process improvement, etc.), the change management team is tasked with making sure the organization’s end-user stakeholders—or everyone impacted by the change—are ready to transition when the change comes. The two teams must work together, as readiness for change hinges on the level of engagement and commitment from stakeholders toward the project or change initiative.

Inclusion: Capturing the Voice of the End-User

To garner the requisite level of engagement and commitment, the change management team should provide appropriate structures for capturing the voice of the end-user (employee). From initial planning through implementation, inclusion of end-user stakeholders will ensure:

  • Increased adoption of the new system(s)
  • Empowered and motivated employees
  • Improved end-user experience
  • Comprehensive input for enhanced system development

Techniques for including and engaging end-user stakeholders

Engaging an organization of end-user stakeholders is a multifaceted undertaking. The technique that works best depends on the project and the organization’s culture. We recommend incorporating any or all of the three following techniques:

What is it?

A Champion Network is a program created for collecting feedback, providing a true sense of how departments and individuals are feeling about the change. The network includes Change Agents or Change Champions who work to inspire and influence others to support change. Building a successful Champion Network requires thoughtful consideration of how it will be structured, how it will operate, and what its goals are. After these key elements are defined, you are ready to build the group, create materials, engage with the members, and begin working towards achieving favorable adoption metrics.

Who will participate?

Start by determining which groups will be most impacted by the changes. A representative from each of these areas will be essential participants of the network. Keep in mind, smaller groups are easier to manage and maintain. Look for employees who are strong at relationship building and bring excitement to their teams. Employees who are looking to elevate their careers are also good candidates for the Champion Network. Consider whether to include any distractors, or individuals that have alternative viewpoints on the initiative, as these individuals can provide valuable insights into the communications and information being shared. You’ll also want to identify a main point person for organizing the group.

How will members communicate and collaborate?

Next, determine how you will communicate and distribute resources with the group. Communication and collaboration within the group is as important as communication and collaboration with the project team and should be encouraged and enabled with appropriate technology. Key questions to consider include:

  • What channels of communication are already in place to leverage?
  • What messaging system will be adopted and most useful (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Slack, Yammer, email, or a combination of systems)?
  • Where will shared resources be stored?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the group?
  • What information can be shared with the group to kick off their engagement?
  • Will there be meetings and if so, what is the cadence of the meetings?
  • What expectations can be outlined when encouraging communication between members?
  • What is the expectation of the members on how often and when they should be engaging with their teams?
  • What assessments can be used to help understand the level of engagement and understanding within the group?

What is it?

An Advisory Team is a group of experts and stakeholders that provide strategic guidance and input to ensure the project’s success while Change Champions are individuals who champion and drive the change initiative within the organization. Both roles play crucial parts in managing change and implementing projects effectively.

What is its purpose?

The Advisory Team’s goal is to remove silos and ensure the organization’s voice is brought into development efforts of the project. They can be an asset to any project, but they are critical if the project efforts will span across various departments within the organization.  This team should be brought into the design and structure of specific processes and leveraged for feedback on development by providing their expertise on the unknown areas. When employees are given the opportunity to contribute their ideas and opinions, they feel valued and engaged in the change process. This can also lead to better solutions and more effective implementation.

How do you build one?

  1. Outline what processes will be worked on throughout the project.
  2. Determine what groups, other than those involved in the day-to-day work, should be consulted regarding those processes.
  3. Identify what key individuals around the organization would be an asset to have on the team.
  4. Set expectations of this group by documenting their role.
  5. Identify leadership who can help support the initiative to ensure there is alignment top down.
  6. Think about how you will measure Advisory Team member engagement and routinely ensure they are delivering value while adjusting the group through iterative processes.

What are they?

Readiness assessments serve as valuable tools to ensure organizational alignment with the project at specific milestones. They gauge comprehension and personal commitment to the change management activities. Assessment results provide insights to the project team regarding potential gaps in implementation activities and help determine what additional efforts are needed for engaging with the organization. Depending on the length, audience, and objective of the project, there may be a need for a few different assessments.

What key points should be captured?

  • Is leadership aligned and supportive of the effort?
  • Are those impacted by the initiative aware of the effort?
  • Do end-user stakeholders understand the reason behind the initiative and its impact on them?
  • Is there excitement around the new initiative?

These are just a few elements to include in assessments to capture the organization’s voice regarding the initiative.

The change management team’s focus should be on the people of the organization and how the launch of any initiative is perceived and adopted. Engaged employees are the driving force behind successful change initiatives. By implementing strategies such as clear communication, inclusive decision-making, empowerment, leadership support, and recognition, organizations can create an environment where employees feel valued, committed, and excited to embrace change. In the end, a well-engaged workforce can turn challenges into opportunities and lead the organization towards a brighter future.

What are some ways you have found success with involving your organization in a project implementation? Let us know!

Learn more about our change management services.



Jennifer Martin


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