Staff Engagement Is Key To Successful Business Transformation

Like many businesses, your organisation may be right in the middle of planning a new document management system, or moving to a big upgrade of an existing one – perhaps embarking on an integration with a trusted third-party’s system.

Whatever the specifics, no business can escape the need to make major change over the longer term. Whatever the reason, business change is inevitable.

But a huge factor that gets overlooked repeatedly is the human, as opposed to the technology, element of change. Getting staff on board to make the most of these new ways of working is essential – and not spending time on that is potentially a recipe for disaster.

Communicating your plans to transform the business at the beginning of the project is a great way to start. That’s because it will help the team get used to the idea that things are able to change.

It’s also imperative that team leaders and senior management make themselves available to field any questions staff may have involving any proposed new processes. Any supporting communication, such as help-guides, should also be available – but tailored for the specific needs of various audience groups, to make the adoption of new technologies and processes as easy as possible.

At our company’s Delivering Change event in December 2015, one of our guest speakers was from BlackLine, a company that took National Lottery leader Camelot through a business transformation process.

That project’s aim was to streamline the organisation’s paper-based financial reporting processes, and BlackLine shared some great best practice advice from which we can all benefit:

1. Always be visible about why a process needs to change. Be clear that the change is happening for a good reason. Even if you don’t agree with it personally, as a senior person within the business you need to be seen to understand and support the C-suite’s thinking.
2. Define the goal so that success can be measured. Another common mishap is to focus only on the change of process, losing sight of the end result. To avoid this, always start with the end in mind – and be sure to make checks along the way to ensure the business is collectively heading in the same direction
3. Don’t forget the people. Engage with team members, encouraging them to contribute, share opinions and, where possible, make the change happen. Most of us do better when we have a say in how our lives will change.

The ultimate goal in any business transformation process, then, should be for all staff members to feel empowered by the changes and energised to embrace any process or productivity efficiencies.

It’s easy to overlook staff engagement as part of the change management process, as busy implementation teams can get lost in technical or operational detail.

But we can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that it’s an organisation’s people, not its processes or technologies, who ultimately determine the success of a new transformation project, and their involvement should be considered as a defining part of any change project.

Andes Loukianos is Sales & Marketing Director at TouchstoneFMS, a firm that specialises in helping organisations harness their business information and processes so they can remove complexity, improve compliance, reduce costs and increase competitive advantage. Read more thought leadership from TouchstoneFMS in the guide given to Delivering Change attendees.

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