Impact Advisors integrates these six principles with the unique aspects of how each client organization operates (people – process – technology) to build a “people-centric” change management strategy. We understand clinical, business, and research departments operate differently, and the people within those departments digest information differently; therefore, different approaches to training and employee engagement are required. By understanding healthcare roles or “personas” for each unique area, we can define the most effective ways to engage, communicate, and support the full organization and maintain a personalized and positive experience. Doing so increases system adoption rates, helps ensure business objectives are met, and provides the organization with positive, tangible outcomes.
Listed below is each principle and its role in solving the challenge of change in more detail.
1. Leadership – Leaders must be visibly supportive of change.
Successful change depends on active and visible involvement of leadership at all levels of the organization during the project or initiative. When leaders understand their role and how they can support the change, their commitment and support for the program increase. Designing a stakeholder engagement plan that is interactive, adaptive, and data-driven will provide appropriate structure at each level, starting with leadership. A well-conceived plan will also build awareness, provide and level-set expectations, and promote transparency.
Involving and empowering leaders throughout the program helps to garner their support. Give them opportunities to be hands-on and show their commitment throughout the organization. Some questions to consider when developing your stakeholder engagement plan include:
- How will leaders participate in video messaging?
- How will leaders be involved in system demonstrations?
- What key content will leaders share in monthly stakeholder meetings?
- What information can leaders share in town halls?
- What information can leaders share in departmental communications?
- What specific ways can leaders lead by example (e.g., change techniques)?
- Which actions will promote change within their teams?
2. Inclusion – We all just want to be heard.
Stakeholders include everyone impacted by the change. The stakeholder engagement plan must also provide appropriate structures for capturing the voice of the end-user (employee). From initial planning through implementation, inclusion of end-user stakeholders will ensure the right tools and business processes are designed and built, resulting in a better employee experience and increased adoption of the change.
Create a coalition, such as a “Change Champion Network,” to help bridge the gap between the project team and the rest of the organization. This group fosters employee participation, gathers feedback, disseminates information, and identifies project advocates through “social” motivation.
Other techniques to foster employee engagement include:
- Leveraging assessments to determine organizational needs
- Creating polls to check in with employees
- Involving employees in pilot groups for training initiatives
- Designing a feedback loop to promote open dialogue
- Running collaborative workshops to involve employees in project decisions
3. Communication – Nothing brings a project to its knees faster than poor communication.
By building excitement and awareness among employees and helping to break down organizational silos, communication forms the backbone of a unified project team. Messages must be relevant, tailored to different groups, and timely. They must be consistent, increase project visibility, and build excitement. And, as you’ve learned, they must be supported by leadership. Communication plays such a key role in level-setting, providing transparency, bridging gaps, and encouraging adoption which requires its own strategy.
To develop a communications strategy, you’ll need to identify impacted audiences, communication channels to leverage, communication objectives, and the governance structure for message approval. Before you begin, consider your communication goals.
What must you communicate?
At a minimum, the organization must align on and communicate:
- Program objectives
- Who will be impacted and how
- Benefits of the implementation (“What’s in it for me?”)
- Training expectations
How will you communicate?
Think about different media options and creative ways to connect with your organization outside of email. Leverage blogs, intranet sites, and social applications to help start conversations, share knowledge, and build a community. These platforms are impactful to a project because they facilitate effective two-way communications-a powerful technique for breaking down silos and barriers and building excitement. It can be a forum for employees to ask questions, share ideas, provide insights, and collaborate with other members of the organization. There is a multitude of collaboration tools available, including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Slack and intranet sites. Providing such capabilities to employees promotes empowerment and involvement throughout the program, which creates more positive connections.
4. Metrics – Define targets and then track progress against them.
Establishing the right metrics enables you to communicate, coach and direct the behaviors which will drive your desired business outcomes.
There are three focus areas to consider when deciding what to measure for a system implementation:
- How will you assess the consumption of training?
- Determine how many attended from each department / functional area and how many views there were for learning materials. Consider trainer evaluations, in-class quizzes, and assessments.
- How will you determine the system usage?
- Keep track of how many, how often, and how employees are logging in (mobile or desktop), and how long it is taking to perform business processes or tasks compared to the old system.
- How will assess organizational engagement?
- Record how the system is functioning for end-users, benchmark readiness assessments from prior to go-live to after, and research the level of engagement with intranet sites and communications views, follows, etc.
Each focus area provides insights into key adoption levels that indicate whether the system is being used to its full capacity or to highlight where additional support may be needed.