Making Change Management Work: Three Practitioners Offer Some Guidance

Change management from the people perspective is too often a forgotten component of business process transformation. Organizations focus on getting the new processes right and putting technology components in place — but helping people who will implement the new processes accept and even embrace change is usually an afterthought. Some organizations — small and medium-size businesses as well as global enterprise organizations — have realized how critical the people piece is to success and have addressed the people issue early on in the change process.

At Forrester’s Business Process Forum, we will bring together some of these practitioners that have made change management work in their organizations. We recently caught up with three of them: Tom Coleman, Chief Information and Process Officer, Sloan Valve Company; Wade Wallinger, GM Value Chain Optimization COE , Chevron; and Ronald Sharpe, Change Management Lead, Business Excellence Team, Cabela’s.

Q: How did you get your change management program started?

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Avoid The 70% Failure Rate Of Change Management Initiatives

You read that number right: seventy percent, a dramatically high rate of failure. It could happen to you unless you take into account that any business process change is strongly related to personal change — that means your people — and this is often the component that gets shortchanged. Organizations fail to realize the impact of change on the employees it will affect and do not plan and execute carefully enough to address the people issues through all phases of business process change management. Today’s business environment is constantly changing as companies work to stay competitive. But change only happens when workers change their thinking, beliefs, and behaviors. This is hard and requires constant effort from employees and executives.

Change management methodologies abound. Look carefully at ADKAR from Prosci and John Kotter’s The 8-Step Process for Leading Change; read Crucial Conversations by Patterson et al. They are rich in change theory and suggestions. Choose one methodology or components of many methodologies. What’s critical is that you do not miss any of the following six principles:

 

The change manager (managing the people change) and the project manager (managing the technology change) must plan together; they work in parallel but have constant interaction to make sure the initiative is moving ahead on both fronts.

To make your change management efforts work, follow these best practices:

  • Get project sponsorship from a leader who understands people change management.
  • Make sure you have the change management resources and a budget.
  • Communicate constantly with employees by engaging them in discussions and keeping them informed.
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Taleo Makes Strategic Jobpartners Acquisition To Boost Its European Presence

Today Taleo announced the acquisition of privately-held, Europe-based Jobpartners for $38 million (€25 million) in cash. With this acquisition, Taleo strengthens its European presence in talent management, as Jobpartners has a presence in 50 countries and 28 languages and is also a talent management vendor. The deal is expected to close in early Q3. Jobpartners has only 68 customers, but these customers include Deutsche Post DHL, Nike EMEA, Rabobank, and 16 Global 500 companies. Jobpartners also has a R&D facility in Krakow, Poland and a support center in Scotland that no doubt figured prominently in Taleo’s acquisition decision. In terms of technology, the fit is a good one, because Jobpartners is SaaS-only. Taleo said that it is in the process of evaluating Jobpartners’ technology, but this acquisition is not about acquiring new technology — it’s about doubling Taleo’s customer base in Europe and becoming a known European player in the talent management field. Customer success teams made up of Taleo and Jobpartners staff are in place to meet with Jobparters customers to help them get familiar with Taleo. Taleo will continue to support the existing Jobpartners platform for a while as plans are put in place for the transition.

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A Gem of a Deal: SuccessFactors and Plateau Come Together

A major announcement in the human capital management (HCM) world occurred on April 26, 2011. SuccessFactors, a top vendor in performance management, announced its intention to purchase Plateau Systems, a leading learning management system (LMS) vendor. Although both vendors have competing products in the talent management space, Plateau had something SuccessFactors needed: an LMS. With the loss of GeoLearning, SuccessFactors’ former LMS partner, which was acquired by SumTotal in January 2011, SuccessFactors was left with a gaping hole in its solution set. Although SuccessFactors executives believe that the future of learning is more in the informal and social realms, organizations need and want LMSes to manage their increasing compliance training needs while keeping a close eye on the whole social and informal learning market. Organizations also have formal courses and simulated and role-play learning that the LMS tracks and reports on. The word is that SuccessFactors’ sales staff have been bemoaning the lack of an LMS to help them close deals. Today, organizations are much more interested in getting multiple HRM functionality from one vendor. Often this suite approach includes performance, compensation, learning, and even recruiting (for more details, see my “Four Pillars of Talent Management” research report). SuccessFactors now has a very strong and complete “four-pillar” solution.

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Change Management: A Critical Component Of Any New Business Process

Think of how often you hear the term change management in relation to a new business process. What’s your reaction? Is it “More of that high level stuff that sounds good, but . . .” or is it “Give me something concrete that I can really use to help my staff understand this new process and feel more comfortable with the change”? Methodologies, frameworks, and best practices abound, yet up to 60% of change management projects fail — and these failures are expensive. Should businesses just accept the fact that changes like the introduction of a new email system, a merger or acquisition, or a larger business transformation project are just going to be tough, and no resources are really effective?

Change management can work, but it’s a hard, continuous, and often frustrating process with no shortcuts. Any change management must have detailed planning, strong executive support, continuous and varied communications, assessments to gauge successful milestones, many training approaches, and reinforcement until the process becomes part of the new culture. The change leader needs deep experience in organizational change management. Whether this person is an external consultant or an inside person with a change management background, in most cases this leader also will need to develop a strong team relationship with the project manager.

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An Active Year In Strategic Talent Management And More To Come In 2011

At Forrester, we think of strategic talent management as made up of four pillars: Recruiting, Performance (including succession and career development), Learning, and Compensation, which sit on top of the core HR system that manages employee records and transactions. These four pillars of HRM (human resource management) have taken on critical importance in the past year. Organizations find talent that they must bring up to full productivity as quickly as possible. Leaders want to make sure employees have performance goals and appropriate formal and informal training to help them meet these goals. For those strong performers, variable compensation rewards their work efforts. Technology is available to automate all these processes, but up until this year, few vendors provided functionality in all four strategic HRM pillars.

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The Millennials' Journey Into Adulthood

A New York Times article, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” written last summer has stayed with me as I continue to talk with clients about the Millennials and how they approach work life. This article talks about the new growing-up phase of today’s Millennials as a distinct life stage called “emerging adulthood” and relates it to “adolescence,” which was a new term 100 years ago when 12- to 18-year-olds began staying in school instead of starting to work at 12 or 13. Many young people in their early 20s are not following the path of past generations — graduate high school, go on to college, graduate, find a job, marry, start a family, and eventually retire. Rather, 40% of today’s Millennials move back home at least once, have many jobs as well as romantic relationships in their 20s, travel, do what appears like nothing, and go back to school. They are exploring and feel no need to rush to make work or personal commitments. They are the product of their Baby Boomer parents who, although they worry about their children making it on their own, provide support and encourage them to find what’s right for them. Millennials as children were encouraged to explore as they participated in a variety of sports, drama, music, and other enriching children-focused activities during and after school. It’s not surprising that they now want to explore many career and life options and don’t feel any obligation to follow the traditional approaches to adulthood. We also see government regulations allowing parents to keep their children on their health insurance until they are 26.

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Market Moves Toward Integrated Performance And Learning

I attended the Taleo customer conference last week in Chicago where CEO Michael Gregoire in his opening session speech boasted about Taleo’s recent acquisition of Learn.com, a $26 million private learning company that Taleo had just bought for $125 million. (Wow!) He admitted he had never been pro learning management systems but that Taleo’s customers’ expressed learning needs had made him a convert to the importance of having an LMS.

Throughout the first day of the conference, many Taleo executives talked about how the acquisition made Taleo a complete talent management company with strong recruiting, which is their heritage along with performance, compensation, and now learning to round out their offerings. This is exactly what I recommend in my research, "The Four Pillars Of Talent Management".

If we are going to have organizations that put a premium on skilled, knowledgeable, and happy employees, there must be a seamless integration among these essential components. Recruiting and onboarding become a process of hiring the right people, ramping them up quickly to full productivity while integrating them into the company culture and putting new hires into an employee performance management plan linked to appropriate learning activities. By linking performance to compensation and non-monetary rewards, employees are more likely to feel that they are valued members of the company team.

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Corporate Mentoring Benefits Employee Development

In this podcast Claire covers the three most common types of relationships in workplace mentoring and goes on to discuss the benefits to the mentor, mentee, and organization. She cites two major companies that have succesfully implemented large scale mentoring technology implementations. Critical components for successful mentoring programs are discussed and the podcast is closed with takeways for establishing a mentoring program.

http://www.forrester.com/role_based/images/author/imported/forresterDotCom/Podcasts/BPA/BP_6.7.10_Schooley_Corporate_Mentoring_Benefits_Employee_Development.mp3

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"Empowered" Supports Employee-Generated Content

Forrester has a new book coming out soon entitled Empowered written by two Forrester analysts. Its focus is on the power of social technologies in the hands of the general public and what this means for businesses. Although the book concentrates on sales and marketing, the implications for learning are huge. Empowered challenges businesses to give their employees the power of social technologies to respond quickly to customer needs. No one knows the customers better than the employees who work with them daily so “unleash” these employees from the established process and boundaries and encourage them to come up with solutions to customer problems, to issues in the work environment, and even to learning topics. The book’s vivid examples show the dangers of remaining in a status quo mode. It also profiles innovative company employees (called HEROes) who have generated approaches using technologies that have made a major difference in their companies’ ability to communicate quickly and successfully with customers. The message of the book: To succeed with empowered customers, you must empower your employees to solve customer problems.

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