Change resistance and other roadblocks can delay a change initiative– or worse yet, cause it to fail. This is why companies about to embark on a business transformation or ERP project should use change management assessments to anticipate and mitigate roadblocks.
These assessments can help you understand the impact of change, your employees’ readiness for change and what change management activities to include in your project plan. We use change management assessments to help companies reduce risk and ensure an on-time, on-budget project with a high ROI.
We have found that the ability to identify employee resistance early in the project leads to faster ERP benefits realization. Essentially, the more time employees spend using new ERP software instead of resisting it, the more the software will benefit your bottom line.
While there are many different change management assessments, three of the most common assessments we use are listed below.
1. Change Impact Assessment
A change impact assessment gives insight into the potential effects of a proposed change. Knowing what people and processes will be affected by change enables your team to develop a change management plan.
More specifically, a change impact assessment evaluates the impact of a change from three perspectives:
Consequences of making the change
Mandatory resource modifications
Effort and tasks to complete the change
The main purpose of a change impact assessment is to minimize the negative impacts of change. It accomplishes this by allowing the project team to anticipate issues, such as resource constraints, before they occur.
There are two major benefits of using a change impact assessment:
Minimizing Ripple Effects
A change impact assessment is especially beneficial for projects where quality and safety are paramount. In these projects, a small change can cause huge issues down the line.
We recommend continuously monitoring the impacts of change during the project. This will help you address issues while they’re still small.
Controlling Project Scope
On a complex project that has hundreds or thousands of intertwined processes, a change impact assessment can prevent the project scope from expanding.
How does scope expansion occur? Imagine if a developer on your team promises a change to an end-user, fails to perform a change impact assessment and ends up spending months on a single change order.
2. Organizational Readiness Assessment
The willingness of employees to support change determines on how quickly you can implement change. That’s why we use readiness assessments at our client engagements – the client needs to know if their employees will be supportive of organizational changes.
Some of our clients find that their culture is either resistant to change, or it doesn’t align with the specific changes being proposed. This knowledge helps clients develop a plan to adjust their culture and prepare employees.
There are two main reasons companies use readiness assessments:
To Identify Root Causes
Oftentimes, change resistance does not stem from ill intent, but rather poor internal communication, distrust of senior leaders or extreme organizational silos. Once you understand these aspects of your culture, you can begin overcoming resistance
To Gain Employee Buy-in
Employee buy-in is important both during and after a change initiative.
After a project, for example, employee buy-in can mean increased ERP system usage and higher benefits realization.
During a project, employee buy-in can mean increased insight into employee needs and the ability to design business processes that benefit employees. As you can imagine, prying knowledge out of an employee worried about job security is quite difficult.
3. Stakeholder Analysis
Typically, stakeholder analysis refers to the techniques or tools used to identify and understand the needs of major interests outside the immediate project environment.
The goal of this assessment is to understand what individual stakeholders care about and what relationships exist between stakeholders. This allows the project team to avoid stepping on toes and implement changes that benefit stakeholders.
Here are two reasons to conduct a stakeholder analysis:
Stakeholders are a Key Source of Information
Stakeholders’ ideas and suggestions can help guide team members in their process improvement efforts.
Stakeholders can be Change Champions
Stakeholders who visibly support change will naturally elicit buy-in from other employees.
You Will Encounter Roadblocks
We have a yet to see an ERP implementation that hasn’t encountered organizational roadblocks. While the most noticeable roadblock is change resistance, there are usually several root causes.
Change management assessments not only identify sources of resistance but help you develop a more effective change management plan – and overall project plan.