Process steps to engage all stakeholders in change
Organizational change is as much about people as it is about processes and systems. In dissecting the success rates of change initiatives, various studies have shown that stakeholder engagement is essential. For example:
- Two out of five projects fail to meet their original goals, and of those projects that fail, 50% fail due to ineffective communication. (2013, Program Management Institute)
- Effective communication is associated with a 17% increase in program success. (2012, PricewaterhouseCoopers)
- “Inadequate Change Management and Training” is one of the six main reasons that 20% of ERP implementations fail. (Gartner, 2011)
If stakeholders are not fully engaged with the change (the reasons for it, the objectives, and the strategies to achieve expected outcomes), it is less likely to produce the sustainable outcomes expected.
In this article, you’ll learn a seven-step process to improve the stakeholder engagement that will help develop a winning project change team.
1. Onboard organizational leaders as change sponsors
Employees and other stakeholders seek guidance through the disruption of change, and this guidance should come from the top. Senior executives should be visible and vocal in their support for the change initiative. Discussions at board level should identify these sponsors and the work that needs to be done in advance and during the change project.
2. Choose your project team
When selecting the project team, leading players should be selected on the basis of several criteria. Technical and procedural skills and abilities are important, but you should also consider the need for effective communication. With the understanding that change is a people process, it is essential that project team members and managers have the ability to communicate change to a diverse set of stakeholders.
When considering who will be most effective on the project team, consider giving it the diversity advantage with behavioral interviews. These will help ‘identify the people who offer the diversity needed with the ability to perform as a team player’.
3. Consider impact on stakeholders
With your project team in place, consider the impact of the change project on all stakeholders. As issues are uncovered, consider the opportunities these present to engage stakeholders in solution finding and creation. This will help stakeholders to engage more fully with the project, providing them with a sense of purpose and ownership.
4. Communicate effectively
Communication is the key to engaging employees and leading effective change. It is essential to communicate context and objectives, and promote greater understanding of the change initiative. Effective communication during organizational change should help to give stakeholders a sense of owning their own destiny and involvement in the change process.
5. Prepare stakeholders for change
Change management must prepare people for change, understanding their needs and providing training, coaching and information throughout the process of change. Resources and leadership will need to be committed to create the level of preparedness required to reduce the pain of disruption.
6. Define roles and responsibilities
Speak frankly to stakeholders and help them understand where they fit into the big picture, and what their roles and responsibilities are to help the organization achieve its aims. Be clear and concise, and provide effective, positive feedback to help stakeholders adjust their behaviors.
7. Manage resistance to change
The above steps should help to develop an effective change team by engaging stakeholders in the entire process, from planning through execution. However, there are likely to be pockets of resistance to change which will threaten success. Most resistance to change is created by uncertainty. Therefore, it is essential to eliminate this uncertainty by anticipating, preparing and guiding people through the change process.
A McKinsey study conducted in 2010 concluded that leaders who are good at engaging employees in change are 75% more likely to manage successful projects. When developing a project change team, the above process should help to ensure that all stakeholders are engaged in the change initiative.
Our Change Agent Bootcamp and coaching in consulting and facilitating will help your organization and leaders produce lasting change and embrace generational diversity. Contact Forward Focus today for more information.